NAVA Interview

This interview with NAVA took place in Sydney, March 2020 and was first published by NAVA on their website in April 2021 
JASMINE COE: My name is Jasmine Coe
and I'm a Wiradjuri woman and a British woman.
I grew up in London with my mother
and I only came to Australia,
I think it was in... it was Christmas 2016.
And I came to meet my dad and my family.
I hadn't been to Australia before.
So this trip was quite a big one,
you know, connecting to my heritage as an Aboriginal woman,
as a Wiradjuri woman,
learning about where I've come from
and my family
and our connection to Wiradjuri country,
and what that means and how that shapes me as a person.


I think a turning point in my career or a proud moment
would have been
the start of my artistic journey here in my practice.
Now, what I'm doing here was, you know, coming to Australia
and learning about who I am,
meeting my family and
discovering self-identity.
And, you know, connecting to my heritage and Wiradjuri country
and how that shapes who I am now, as a person,
and how I see myself.
So that, in itself, has been a really proud moment.
Probably, one of the biggest things I would
actually do in my whole lifetime is coming here and
taking this journey.
Another kind of turning point was when I joined Boomalli
and became one of their artists.
And they've provided so many opportunities where
I've exhibited some of my work in
I think three exhibitions last year there
and they've taken some of my work to, you know, Hobart
and took part in the Hobiennale there.
And it was a real kind of proud moment
thinking and seeing your work
going to these places where I've never been,
but what I've made and what I've created in my little studio somewhere
has reached people
on the other side of the world.
I was making this work in London and it's kind of...
it's about feeling connected and
engaging with others.
And it's kind of the process of that
has been, yeah, a real turning point.


I think I feel a mixture of things when I make work
because it's very personal for me.
It's my
own process of healing.
And so I cry a lot when I paint
because you're letting yourself be vulnerable
to what you're feeling and you're feeling it and you're in it.
And I think,
to some extent, everyone holds pain
and it's how you deal with it and it's how you process it.
Painting, for me, it's therapeutic
because it allows me to express
emotions of what I'm holding or what I have been holding
and you're creating something beautiful with it.


I think you have to have belief.
You have to believe in what you're doing.
Yeah, I mean it's tough.
Like, being an artist is tough because
you're the only one doing it yourself.
You know, you don't have a...
Well, if you're starting out, it's just you.
You don't have like a team of people.
So you have to find the motivation and the belief that
what you're doing is... there's something in it.
And then, you know, you have to...
I think today, to be an artist,
you have to equip yourself with so many different skills.
You have to learn how to navigate the art world
and you have to learn, you know,
how to do your accounts,
how to be your own like marketing manager
or social media manager.
There are so many different things to it.
When I left university, I kind of thought,
"Oh, you know, I'd love to paint. That's what I want to do,"
but you're not so much equipped with the skills to
survive as a self-employed artist.
And I think, to survive, you need to
teach yourselves or learn, from somewhere,
these essential, yeah, skills.