Get to Know Contemporary Gundjitmara artist Merindah-Gunya


Interviewing Merindah-Gunya

Sophia Houston

November 17th, 2022

We are super excited to introduce you to Merindah-Gunya, also known as Bayley Mifsud, a proud Gundjitmara woman from the Eastern Maar Nation. Bayley is collaborating with us on a huge collection of fantastic office wear essentials that feature five of her amazing and vibrant pieces of art.

We love all of Merindah-Gunya’s work and wanted to get to know her a little better and also give you the opportunity to learn more about the amazing contemporary First Nations artist behind our Work (It) Essentials collection.

Merindah-Gunya was raised in the traditional home of the Gundjitmara people, Warrnambool Victoria. She is currently living on Bunurong country in Melbourne, Victoria, with her two dogs.

She first began painting when she was little, learning traditional storytelling from her Elders using paint as a medium. Merindah-Gunya kept her love of painting through the years and went on to complete a number of art subjects throughout highschool. She loves painting but it wasn’t until the lockdown in 2020 that she started selling her art and started a business to share her work with a greater audience.

During the extended Melbourne lockdown, Merindah-Gunya finally got the opportunity to spend time on her art and refine her skills. It wasn’t until she posted a painting she had done to her social media that her art really started to take off. She received a lot of support and positive feedback from everyone and started her forward on the path to an exciting new career in art.

You can explore some of her beautiful art right here

With an amazing portfolio of work under her belt, we had to ask Merindah-Gunya where she gets her inspiration from. She said:

“My inspiration for my artwork comes from those who commission it. All of my work is based off and around a story that clients develop for me. Other inspiration comes from my own experiences in life as an Aboriginal woman and my connection to my people, culture and community.”

Several of her works feature soft pastel pinks and warm earth tone oranges that come to life in a beautiful expression of a natural landscape in the early morning! We had to find out what exactly drew her to those two vibrant colours for her art and she told us:

“I have always loved the concepts of sunrises and sunsets, particularly the colours that my ancestors paint the skies when it is a beautiful morning or evening. This is what drew me to my signature colours of pinks and oranges.”

Check out the vibrant colours for yourself!

We asked Merindah-Gunya how her painting helps her to connect with her Country and culture and this is what Merindah-Gunya had to say:

“Creating art has allowed me to connect with my culture on a deeper level that I have experienced. I have been raised extremely connected within my community however through continuing a tradition through storytelling and art it has allowed me to continuously reflect and extend my knowledge and experiences as an Aboriginal woman.”

We understand how much time and effort goes into creating a new piece of art so we asked Merindah-Gunya to talk us through her process and she told us:

“When I begin a new piece the initial and most important part is understanding the story and inspiration from my client in which they want me to interpret. After this there is a mutual understanding of colours and styles that the client wants as well. When I then begin my creative journey I reflect on symbols and styles that will support the message being portrayed and then I draft. I always begin with the base of the piece followed by major symbols and finish with detailing.”

Merindah-Gunya explained her process beautifully and succinctly for us! We can only imagine there is a lot more hard work, effort and time that goes into creating her art behind the scenes. If you haven’t seen our behind the scenes video yet then this is your chance to find out more! 

Merindah-Gunya has had an amazing artistic career over the past three years and we wanted to know what the highlight has been for her so far. She told us:

“Although I love sitting and painting, my highlight of my journey has been all of the educating and teaching I do for the broader community. I have had the opportunity to go to many kindergartens, primary schools and high schools to teach Aboriginal art and being able to share that knowledge is truly the best aspect of my journey.”

What does this collection mean to you?:

“This collection to me is another amazing opportunity to share my culture and knowledge through Aborginal art. To be able to share my stories and for all of the Australian community to be able to wear or hold an aspect of that is something I am very proud of.”

We are super excited to be working with Merindah-Gunya and ever-so happy to help her share her culture and knowledge as a First Nations Australian.

You can check out the Yarn and Merindah-Gunya collaboration below and explore the amazing designs and styles we have for you.

Merindah-Gunya has left us with one final piece of advice to share with all those aspiring artists taking the first steps in their artistic journey.

“My advice would be for them to sit down and learn, and speak to their Elders.”

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