Cherie Johnson is a Gamilaroi and Weilwun woman who resides in Newcastle, NSW and participates as an active member of the Awabakal Community. Her grandmother, Rachal Darcy, was born on the Beemunnal Mission in Warre n, NSW.

Cherie is a PHd candidate researching the effects of urban Aboriginal Women coming to culture and the importance in the contemporary context. She is also a highly regarded lecturer in Aboriginal culture and education and is currently a casual lecturer at the University of Newcastle.

Cherie was awarded a Diploma in Teaching from the University of Newcastle in 2006 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Sydney in 2001. She has also studied dance through the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA). Cherie is also a keynote speaker at conferences and forums across Australia. She is also currently completing a number of major public artworks in Newcastle and recently exhibited her photographic and woven artworks in Perth, Sydney and Newcastle.

Cherie is a qualified visual artist and teacher with a passion for education and thearts. Cherie has combined these two passions by developing arts and educational resources for use in schools and other learning environments such as universities and community organisations. Through her business, Speaking in Colour, Cherie delivers insightful workshops and educational seminars about Australi an Aboriginal cultures. The primary focus of Speaking in Colour is to embed Aboriginal cultural perspectives into the classroom through the delivery of well researched and structured arts activities and cultural education lessons.

I am passionate about reviving and celebrating local Aboriginal cultures through initiatives such as weaving native reeds and barks, recreating traditional possum skin cloaks and mapping cultural symbols from the region. My workshops are really popular with participants because they learn about contemporary Aboriginal culture in a fun way that relates to their own environment. We talk about locals things and relate them to places they all know and visit.

In 2011, Cherie along with the rest of the Aboriginal reference group at the Lake Maquarie art gallery was awarded the Local Government and Shires Association of NSW Cultural Award for Aboriginal Cultural Development for her project Wrapped in a Possum Skin Cloak: by the Lake. Cherie was one of two Aboriginal education consultants on this project.

In that year Cherie was also recognised at the Planning Institute of Australia Awards for her highly successful public engagement and community planning work in the Hunter region in her role as community consultant and artist.


2011-present | Speaking in Colour
Role: Principal, Aboriginal Education Consultant & Cultural Trainer
Target groups: corporates, government, schools and community groups
Role: Creating creative and cultural education resources and facilitating collaborative creative and cultural projects.


2017 | Project: Transmission
An exploration via a contemporary art exhibition and symposium into ways contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists are responding to the resurgence in traditional art practices.
Role: Exhibition Curator and Symposium Coordinator
Host:  The Lock-Up [Newcastle, NSW]

2011 | Client: Lake Macquarie Art Gallery
Role: Aboriginal Education Consultant
Project: Education Kit Bridging Cultures

2011 | Client: Hunter Health
Project: Liveable Communities
Role: Commissioned artist: (artist design and photographer)

2010 | Client: RTA
Project: Wetlands Boardwalk
Role: Commissioned artist

2005 | Client: Newcastle Regional Art Gallery
Project: Instillation for Wallsend Library
Role: Commissioned artist

2003 | NSW Aboriginal Housing
Project: Housing Conference ‘A Home in Our Own Land’
Role: Coordinator

1999 | Choreographed Star Struck opening

1998 |Dancer and performer: two national tours with NASIDA.


2017 | Transmission, group exhibition, The Lock-Up, NSW
2017 | Artists in Residence, Wintjiri Gallery Uluru, NT
2014 | Wrapture, photographic solo exhibition, University of Newcastle Gallery
2014 | Ash Island and Its Transformations, The Lock up, Newcastle
2013 | Finalist at NATSIAA (National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Art Awards), Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
2012 | The Wollotuka Acquisitive Art Prize, Ourimbah and Newcastle University Galleries.
2012 | Convergence, Newcastle Art Space
2012 | Not Forgotten, photographic solo exhibition, Rottnest Island, WA
2010 | Possum Skin Cloak: By The Lake, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery
2008-2009 | Yapang Marruma: Making our way, stories of the stolen, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery
2006 | Stories: Country, Spirit, Knowledge & Politics, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery
2006 | Members Exhibition, Boomalli Aboriginal Art Gallery

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