Ancient Journeys    Doomadgee Artists

Kelly Barclay Profile Picture

Kelly Barclay

Born: 1980
Origin: Doomadgee
Clan: Wannyi


My name is Kelly Barclay, I grew up as a Wannyi women from the North Gunnalunja Region of
the Waanyi in the Lower Gulf of Carpentaria, my skin name is Nangalama and I’m a proud
mother to one daughter and one son.

WHO I AM: I was raised in Doomadgee, North West Qld, as Kelly Barclay after being taken
there by my first mum Natalie Barclay. I was then looked after by Waanyi, Garrawa and
Gangalidda families, the Ned, Aplin, Barclay families. Old mum Iris and old pa Christmas Ned,
their daughter and son-in-law, my mum and Dad Elma and Russell (Mookie) Aplin.

MY HISTORY: However my story starts in the Northern Territory, I was born in Darwin as Kelly
Baker to an Aboriginal woman Mary-Anne Baker and white father, David Patterson. I’ve never
met either of them, my mother has since died and I am yet to meet my father. I was never
aware of this fact until I was 15yrs old, when I was contacted by a family friend from Mataranka
NT and invited to my mother’s funeral. It wasn’t until I was 24 yrs old before my aunty and two
uncles tracked me down in Doomadgee and I was able to visit them. A year later I found out I
had one other sibling, my big brother Edward Baker, he found me in 2005 through our Baker
family and I travelled to Alice Springs to meet him for the first time that same year. I am so
grateful that I did, because part of me is now gone because he died in 2019.

MY ART: I started with lead pencil sketching in primary school, drawing things from nature,
animals and plants. At boarding school I tried painting at the suggestion of my art teacher, I
painted my first painting at 15 years old. I experimented with Realism, painting animals, then
Aboriginal designs and found a skill that I would continue to develop over my lifetime.
I choose only to paint using traditional colours and as an artist, this is certainly a constant
throughout my Aboriginal artwork. The inspiration for my art is all around me, I go fishing,
camping, my family goes hunting, we have seasional changes, the animal habits, all of this is
what I paint about. It has always been about the country where I grew up. One day I might be
able to build that connection with my biological family’s country in the NT where my blood is
from, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.

Artist’s Story

As I grew I carried a lot of my reservations with me, I carried my anger with me, I carried my
hurt with me, only time has made things bearable, Time and my Art. Art is my refuge. I don’t
do it all the time, but when I do it wipes my consciousness of everything except what I can

The intracasies of my work is only matched by the confusion and the overwhelming storyline
that has been my life. Trying to paint my pain and what that would even look like is still a part
of my growth and I will forever be learning from it. Chanelling that into a visual representation
is something I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of and I am excited to see where my gift
leads me.

I now have a family of my own and know that whatever I do will impact them and their families
for generations to come, so I need to make sure I pass on learnings that will give them strength
to navigate through life and to be strong in whoever they become. I also quietly hope one of
them will take after me with respecting and loving art the way I do.

Adriel Okeefe BIO photo

Adriel O'Keefe

Born: 1994
Origin: Doomadgee
Clan: Wannyi / Gangalidda


Adriel O'Keefe was born in 1994 in the remote town of Doomadgee. Raised within the Wannyi and Gungalidaa tribes, she absorbed the rich indigenous cultures and traditions taught by her family's elders. This early immersion ignited Adriel's passion for art. Her paintings vividly depict the varied landscapes, communities, and customs reflective of her home and heritage.

Adriel went to school in Doomadgee and also studied in Cairns. These days, her colourful artworks depicting her country and community are being shown at art fairs and galleries, like the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and the Mt Isa Art Gallery.