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Djaadjawan: Natalie Bateman at the COX Gallery

Natalie Bateman is a Walbanja-Yuin artist, hailing from one of the largest families on the NSW south coast, namely the Ellas & Stewarts. As a descendant deeply connected to her sea-dwelling heritage, Natalie’s life revolves around the ocean, where she and her family engage in the traditional practices of hunting and gathering seafood. Her family and culture serve as the primary inspiration behind her artwork.


A self-taught artist, Natalie’s journey with painting began three decades ago while residing on the NSW north coast. Feeling a deep longing for her family and the sea, she started to express her emotions through art, marking the beginning of her artistic “Calling.” Guided by ancestral voices and a pull towards her Yuin country, Natalie’s artistic expression is deeply rooted in her lineage and homeland.


In her paintings, Natalie employs traditional Yuin line work, a method of storytelling deeply ingrained in her cultural heritage. Most of her artworks revolve around themes of fish and sea creatures, reflecting the natural connection she feels towards the ocean. Each year, Natalie and her family return to their homelands in Yuin country to rejuvenate their spirits and connect with their ancestral roots.

Her most recent exhibition “Djaadjawan” explores the significance of sand. Through her paintings, Natalie aims to honor the often overlooked aspects of nature, such as sand, which play a crucial role in sustaining life.

“Djaadjawan is a Dhurga word for sand, this is our language. I did these paintings to acknowledge a small part of nature that often gets taken for granted yet is billions of years old. From the small, rare sightings of sand worms to the protection of tern eggs. It’s a habitat for the micro and macro invertebrates that keep our shorebirds and fish healthy,” Artist, Natalie Bateman

Djaadjawan (Sand)
Natalie Bateman
28 May – 26 July
COX Gallery (1/19 Eastlake Pde, Kingston ACT)
Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm

Lisa DeSantis