TJ Cowlishaw

TJ Cowlishaw

Artist uses talent to tell her story


My name is Teagan Rosemarie Jan Cowlishaw.  (TJ Cowlishaw)

I am of Ngikina descendent, whose kinship lies with the Jabirr Jabirr people of the Peninsular in the Kimberlerys WA.  I am also a descendent of the Chinese Pirates of Shanghi.  I believe my cultural blends are reflected in the passion, colours and textures of my pieces.  

I was born in Darwin, NT in 1984 and moved to Perth WA in 1993.  I went to Coolbinia Primary School, Iona Presentation College, Servite College and ended with Central TAFE WA, where I studied Cert III in Art Fundementals.   

In 2006, I commenced work as a Trainee with the WA Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF).  I started as an Administrative Officer in the WA Office of the Under Treasurer (Mr Timothy Marney), then in 2008, I did a secondment with the WA Department of Premier and Cabinet as the Appointment Secretary to the then Treasurer (Hon Troy Buswell MLA).  

In 2009, I was asked by Porsiah Laine (Singer / Songwriter) to do an art piece during her performance at the Oz Day Celebrations for Obese Records (Melbourne) at the Rosemount Hotel, North Perth.  I painted a piece called “Survival” while Porsiah performed on stage. 

When I finished that piece, I walked off feeling so empowered and inspired, that for the first time in my life I realised this is my time, it now or never! 

I wanted to inspire other black mob, I wanted to express myself to the world! I wanted to open minds!  I am black and am proud of who I am!! Do not  judge people by their cover!! We come in many different shades of colour and come from different parts of the land but we all share one passion = our culture!! We are the next generation of leaders for our people! 

So in 2010, I finally took the leap into becoming a full- time Artist.  I was extremely lucky to be granted temporary leave from DTF; I got a ABN; I did a Artist Profile, and I did my research before I took the leap of faith.  Then I enrolled into TAFE to undertake studies in Events Management (Diploma) to learn how to effectively promote myself but, other young aboriginal mob too.  

This year,  I was honoured to be asked by the WA Visitors Centre to undertake an artist in resident  in April 2010. During the residency, I was introduced to a gallery owner and was asked to put my un-sold pieces on consignment at the Creative Native Aboriginal Art Gallery & Emporium. 

With the success at the WA Visitor Centre, I was recommended to the Gravity Discovery Centre (Cosmology Gallery), who have asked me to do a solo exhibition in their Gallery in Oct / Nov this year.

For NAIDOC celebrations this year, I have been asked by DTF to do a exhibition for the RAP Committee. I made some new expression pieces especially for NAIDOC week which will be on display at the QBE  House from 5 - 9 July 2010.

Who knows what the future brings – but I am excited!

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