Chris Edwards – Indigenous Mentor, Artist, Storyteller
Chris is a Gumbaynggirr and Dhanggati man born and raised in Nambucca Valley. The award-winning public artist shares his story of growing up from his early days as one of only a handful of Aboriginal students at school, his troubled youth, and his journey to becoming one of Australia’s prominent public artists.
Along the way, this shy kid struggled and emerged from dark places to help others, spending three years as the Aboriginal Ambassador with GWS Giants and designer of their 2014 Indigenous Round guernsey, and now has artworks on building facades and on display in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and elsewhere.
Chris says, “A lot of people are going through hardship and don’t fit in and think they’re useless. No matter who you meet someone’s got a really bad story or doing it hard. That’s why you always treat everyone with respect because you don’t know what they’re going through.”
Chris tells of some significant moments in his life that shaped who he is and drove his success as an artist and business owner: From eating guavas in a tree at school for lunch, lining up last with a plastic bag hidden behind his back for a library bag, his experience as a teenager with a local police officer he still connects with today, getting a contract for a range of designer rugs that went worldwide, how a chat on the plane led him to his job “that he absolutely loved” with the GWS Giants and to the overwhelming feelings when seeing his artworks on buildings.
The struggles and hardships that Chris has endured are tools he used to make himself a better person. He no longer hides but walks proudly with his head held high and encourages others to do the same.
“[I] always had belief and faith in myself. You may make a mistake but believe that you can fix it, believe in yourself.”
You can now watch Chris’ story and the full feature documentary film, Inspire U: Stories from the Valley, on our Inspire U project page. We’ll be adding new stories regularly so come back soon.
Author: Simone Atallah