Rubii Red <em>White Australia has a Blak history</em> 2022; screenprint, ed. 1/15. Commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2022<br/>
© Rubii Red. Printed by Sarah Murphy, Trop

Rubii Red

Rubii Red
(Lama Lama, b. 1998, Cape York, Queensland. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Rubii Red is a proud Lama Lama artist, activist and Twitch streamer who uses her work to share her culture and discuss issues affecting her and her community. Red’s lifelong love of anime and comic books has influenced her graphic style, in a practice that spans portraits, abstract line work, character design and fan art.

Red’s new work White Australia has a Blak history, 2022, commissioned for Melbourne Now as part of the Print Portfolio project, was created in response to Invasion Day (aka Australia Day). The design comes from a hand-painted sign that Red made for an Invasion Day rally in 2017 – which she has digitally redrawn and printed with Troppo Print Studio in Coburg – demonstrating the confluence of art and activism that often characterises her work. Summoning the iconic slogan that appeared on Mandandanji artist Laurie Nilson’s NAIDOC week poster in 1987, Red draws subtle connections between First Nations activism across the intervening decades, and highlights Australia’s enduring reluctance to meaningfully acknowledge First Nations people and the dispossession at the heart of Australian history. The play on words is not only a celebration of First Nations strength, continuity and sovereignty, but also an allusion to the shadowed history of colonial violence since invasion. For Red, this piece is a gentle reminder to the nation’s citizens that the land they celebrate on always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

Red began posting her artworks on Instagram in 2015, where she now has more than 11,000 followers, and began streaming herself playing video games and drawing live on Twitch in 2019. Since then she has run character-design workshops for teenagers at the NGV (2022); created a guernsey design for the AFLW Western Bulldogs team (2022); exhibited her work in the group show Roots of Identity at Yirramboi Festival (2021); been featured in Vogue Australia (2020); designed the cover for Blak Brow, the Blak Women’s Edition of local literary journal The Lifted Brow (2018); and collaborated on a landmark mural with renowned street artist Adnate to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (2016).