Daph Koko-bera people

Daph’s journey as an artist began in prison, where painting gave him a sense of purpose, connected him with the outside world and helped a lot with his mental state.

‘I wasn’t making art before prison and didn’t consider myself artistic at all. But you do a lot of self-reflection in jail and I learnt that I had pigeonholed myself and my abilities. I had to give away a bit of control and start to explore and experiment’

Daph paints carefully and analytically, taking the time to trace out shapes and consider how everything fits together. He loves creating balance with colours in his works and evoking flow and movement through patterns.

Painting helped Daph overcome the shame that he felt for going to prison, as having his family proud of him for the hard work he put into his art was important. He believes that becoming an artist changed him as a person, as he has come closer to his Indigenous background and knowledge of what it is to be a First Australian. This influences his art as he believes, ‘painting is how we get our voice out’.