Artist Insights: Mark O’Callaghan

Mark O’Callaghan is a Kurtijar man who has been painting with the Torch since 2015. His arts practice has been a journey of reclamation and has given him the opportunity to learn more about his culture and family.

Being a member of the Stolen generation, Mark describes feeling lost, unsure of who he was and where he was from. He was taken from his family at 9 months of age but has connected with family to learn more about his country and culture. Mark uses his arts practice therapeutically and gets lost in the process. Painting eases his anxiety and depression, making him feel relaxed and content in himself.

Being an artist has made me more positive and given me something to strive for. It makes me feel whole. I’m not just a number anymore, I’m somebody.

Mark often paints with dark backgrounds or vibrant colours in the hope to inspire happiness in his own life but also to everyone around him. He loves the feedback he receives when his artwork makes people feel good. Sharing his stories through art has given Mark a new sense of pride. He is passionate about learning but also teaching others about Aboriginal culture and art. Mark aspires to support young people in care with his life experience and dreams of providing art supplies to children in homes to show them another way in life.

It makes me feel proud to be Aboriginal and that way people get to learn more about our culture, it’s important to me to share our culture with others.

Be sure to check out Mark O’Callaghan’s paintings here.