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MADALAH student excels in art exhibition

Rory Charles is an exceptionally talented young man. The young Wunambal Gaambera, Nyikina and Balangarra man grew up in Derby and Kalambaru in the Kimberley region of WA.

In 2016 Charles was granted a MADALAH scholarship and enrolled in Trinity College.

A gifted athlete, Charles has excelled in basketball, being selected in 2020 for the U18 Country Men’s Team set to play in Ballarat in April 2020 and the National Basketball Leagues’ 3×3 Hustle Championship in March 2020. Both events unfortunately had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Where most would be satisfied with one skill, especially that of athletics, Charles is also able to boast his amazing artwork.

Charles’ artwork features in this year’s Revealed Exhibition at the Fremantle Arts Centre.

The talented artist has been creating beautiful art pieces from a very young age and has an impressive portfolio of achievement.

Charles has his artwork alongside many, much older and more experienced artists, and yet his art stands out from the crowd with its contrasting white gen paint pen on black paper.

While all of Charles artwork is striking, one particular artwork, Three Wadjinas, is a stunning and eye-catching depiction the spirits from the Kimberley region, paying homage to his family traditions.

Charles has created many pieces for his school, book designs, companies and even has his own mural on Royal Street in the suburb of East Perth.

Charles has had encouragement from his family to fulfil his artistic passion and explains that his inspiration has come from his journey.

“Art is something I have grown up doing with my grandparents’ encouragement,” Charles said.

“I paint about my life’s journey, about our Country and Gwion Gwion and Wandjina traditions, I also explore contemporary issues facing Aboriginal people.”

“I get inspired watching the old people paint and by listening to their stories.”

Charles has collaborated with MADALAH tertiary student, Rishaye Shaw, to create an artistic foundation that all MADALAH students have been encouraged to take part in as a depiction of the beautiful representation of diversity in the MADALAH family.

When asked what MADALAH means to him, his response outlined his gratitude for the opportunity.

“MADALAH is about friendship and support,” Charles said.

“I wouldn’t be at such a good school if it wasn’t for MADALAH’s help.

“I’ve seen how a scholarship changed my cousin’s life—he was the first person in his family to finish school, go to university and become a nurse. Now all the little kids want to be just like him.”

MADALAH is proud to have Charles currently completing his work experience with them.

“We are keen to get to know him better and look forward to supporting his future endeavours,” a MADALAH staff member said.

Charles’ artwork can be viewed and purchased online via the Fremantle Arts Centre online Revealed Exhibition here—pages 246 to 253.

Charles is one of many Indigenous students benefiting from scholarships in secondary and tertiary education. MADALAH aims to improve the lives of all Indigenous people by providing the cornerstone for life, education.

MADALAH is an organisation that provides secondary and tertiary scholarships for Indigenous people. To donate please visit:

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