Aboriginal artist Kiya Watt’s new jewellery range inspired by her ancient Menang culture

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Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
Angel Brown, Soyraya Brown, Kriccia Woods and Hayley Brown.
Camera IconAngel Brown, Soyraya Brown, Kriccia Woods and Hayley Brown. Credit: Kiya Watt/Kiya Watt

Menang Noongar artist Kiya Watt has unveiled her new Menang-themed jewellery range — modelled by her nieces.

The artist has created a selection of art for ears designed to celebrate her culture.

“It’s reflective of Menang culture — the animals I’ve used are Menang. The language was taught to me from my nan who is a respected Menang elder,” she said.

“The promotion shoot involved my nieces as the models, which is a really amazing way to spotlight the beauty of our culture and what it means to us.”

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Watt drew inspiration from animals, including the snake, the long-necked turtle, the dolphin and the blue-tongue lizard.

The Menang names for the animals are “norrin”, “yakan”, “kwilena” and “yourran” respectively.

Watt used mirror, wood and acrylic gold to bring the designs to life.

Kriccia Woods and Angel Brown who wears snake earrings in gold.
Camera IconKriccia Woods and Angel Brown who wears snake earrings in gold.

Last month, she revealed a sneak peek of the promotional shoot using her nieces.

“I chose them to be the models because it’s very important to always honour my family and honour that reconnection — also they are just drop-dead gorgeous,” she said.

“It’s just really special to do it for my family, have Menang models, everything reflective of Menang culture.”

Watt said it was important for young Indigenous people to have exposure and opportunities.

“Growing up as a Menang child, I would look in catalogues, and I’d see non-Aboriginal models — mainly white models — represented in the media,” she said.

“It’s important for these girls to be celebrated and promoted and for the younger kids to be like, ‘oh, wow, I want to be a model, I can do that’ and to understand there is so much beauty in who they are,” she said.

Kriccia Woods wears the snake earrings in silver.
Camera IconKriccia Woods wears the snake earrings in silver. Credit: Kiya Watt

Watt said her nieces, Kriccia Woods and Angel, Hayley, and Soyraya Brown were very excited to be part of the project.

With a strong pride in her culture, she shared some advice for other Indigenous women wanting to follow a similar path.

“I was a teen mum, I didn’t think I was going to get very far, but I started having people tell me it was possible, and then when you really believe in yourself, nothing is impossible,” she said.

“If you want to be doctor, go enrol in uni — don’t let anyone put limitations on you or stereotype you.”

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