Amy Allerton, First Nations Female Entrepreneur: The Power of Art in Connecting Community and Business

Alice Duthie
on 18 October 2023

Amy Allerton, First Nations founder of Indigico Creative, provides insight into the transformative impact of art on community and business connections.

As a Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung woman deeply rooted in the rich tapestry of First Nations culture, my journey as an artist and entrepreneur has been a profound exploration of identity, heritage, and the limitless potential of art. I am a digital artist, graphic designer, and contemporary Aboriginal artist. My story is one that intertwines tradition and innovation, culture and technology, art and business, ultimately revealing the power of art in connecting communities and driving meaningful engagement in the digital age.

When I launched Indigico Creative, it was important that the business authentically represented who I am, my family, and our heritage. This business is not just a storefront and enterprise; it’s an extension of myself, my cultural identity is central to everything I do.

At Indigico Creative, our mission revolves around collaborating with businesses and communities to convey the stories that unite us. Art plays a pivotal role in this journey, as storytelling is an integral part of Aboriginal culture. Our stories, connections to Country, and lives are conveyed through art, a tradition passed down for over 65,000 years. In Australia with over 250 Aboriginal languages and countless dialects, art emerged as a universal language, bridging gaps in communication. Art transcends language, race, status, and religion, in many cases resonating with all peoples on a spiritual and emotional level.

This connection between art and culture seamlessly extends into the realms of business and community. Every individual, organisation, and community has a story. Sharing our stories creates bonds based on shared experiences, emotions, perspectives, and goals. This connection is the foundation for engagement, and it is where art plays a vital role in fostering relationships.

With Indigico Creative, I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with various organisations to create bespoke First Nations digital artworks to convey their visions, missions, values, and goals for reconciliation. This year, I’ve worked with TAFE NSW, the Australian Water Association (AWA), Aboriginal Affairs NSW, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). In 2022 I collaborated with The Office of the eSafety Commissioner, among others.

A common reason for commissioning a First Nations artwork is for the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). The artworks created in collaboration with AWA and ACMA were integrated into their RAP documents, merging art with their strategic planning. Another motivation is branding; the artwork I developed with Aboriginal Affairs NSW has become the centrepiece of their new branding, permeating every aspect of their visual identity.

Credits: @indigicocreative on Instagram

The process of creating these commissioned artworks is a meticulous one – taking around seven weeks. It starts with in-depth conversations with the client’s project leads and executives to establish a profound understanding of their identity and key messages. Using the organisation’s Brand Style Guide, I construct a colour palette that aligns with their brand. Then, I dedicate the next three weeks to crafting the concept and exploring visual representations of the key story elements. The final three weeks are dedicated to the intricate details, culminating in an artwork that embodies the client’s narrative. The nature of my digital artistic tools and the attention to detail means regular breaks and self-care time, to manage screen fatigue and repetitive strain.

As a First Nations female entrepreneur in the creative industry, I have faced my fair share of challenges. Initially I experienced imposter syndrome, feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, as does the majority of creatives you speak to. However, my emotions also stemmed from both cultural and professional insecurities, compounded by the lack of formal qualifications. The backing of my mentors, supporters, and partners – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous – has validated my mission. Building a diverse support network, embracing those with business experience, belief in your capabilities, and shared journeys, is essential for growth and success.

Art holds a crucial role in preserving Indigenous culture and heritage within the contemporary context. It’s a platform for recording, sharing, and preserving knowledge that has been passed down centuries. Our stories continue to evolve, even as we carry the world’s oldest living culture.

Contemporary Aboriginal art transcends tradition and tells stories that connect Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. The narratives encompass both the injustices faced after colonisation and the strength, resilience, and unity that have defined our journey. When I collaborate with organisations and businesses, I merge these two facets of our story to create a new narrative—one of unity, trust, respect, reconciliation, and collaboration. The artworks are almost symbolic bridges that connect us, enabling us to work together, side by side, to build an equitable future for all Australians.

Credits: @indigicocreative on Instagram

Looking to the future, I see a promising path for Indigenous representation and storytelling, but it requires intention, proactivity, and partnership. The impact of cultural visibility cannot be understated. Seeing First Nations representation in everyday places fills me with pride and makes me feel seen and valued. This simple yet powerful act conveys respect and welcomes First Nations people into spaces with open arms. Moving forward, I envision a world where such representation is commonplace, where art plays a pivotal role in fostering unity, respect, and recognition across all corners of the country.

The power of art in connecting community and business is undeniable. I’ve witnessed firsthand how art transcends boundaries and brings people together. It serves as a connection between cultures, a vehicle for storytelling, and a catalyst for meaningful engagement. My journey, grounded in culture and guided by innovation, has shown me that art has the potential to shape a brighter future—one where Indigenous representation and storytelling are at the forefront of our collective consciousness.

About Amy Allerton

Amy Allerton is the founder and Director of Indigico Creative Pty Ltd and a contemporary Aboriginal artist, graphic designer and photographer. Descended from the Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung nations, she was born and raised on Gamilaroi country in Tamworth NSW, where she is based with her husband and two children.

A natural progression from designing visual communications in the corporate market, Amy applies her skills in digital illustration to deliver a modern approach to Aboriginal storytelling. Amy’s artworks are an extension from her journey of exploring her own cultural identity, bringing her unique ability to speak in colour and imagery to create visual representations of the journeys and values of organisations and communities.

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