Redesigning an Aussie icon

Queensland College of Art graduate Claudia Moodoonuthi was one of three artists commissioned to create a limited edition design for iconic Australian company, Vegemite.

The company is celebrating its 95th anniversary with a range of unique designs on its jars, including Claudia’s bold and colourful work, My Vegemite Family.

The artists were asked to capture what Australia ‘tastes like’. For Claudia Moodoonuthi it was simple: “Families, island home, Kaiadilt language, colour and remarkable history”.

“I love Vegemite and I was born in ’95, so I feel like this was meant to be,” she said.

“Vegemite sent me a big box of the limited edition jars, and I opened some for breakfast the other morning and Mum yelled at me – she wanted to save them all!”

Claudia said she hoped the collaboration would allow everyone to own a little piece of art, for the price of a jar of Vegemite.

“I want to encourage people to look at art,” she said.

“Things like this are a good way to support artists, and bring a little bit of colour into your life – you can recycle the jar and use it for your toothbrush, or a bunch of flowers.

“I’m going to use mine in the studio to hold my paint brushes.”

Claudia’s signature style draws on urban street art, but is steeped in tradition, and her vibrant, colourful style has put her on the map.

Vegemite approached Claudia after spotting her collaboration with Mecca Cosmetica last year on a range of limited edition Christmas packaging. 

“I don’t usually wear makeup, but it was amazing walking past all of the stores decorated with my work, and seeing the big piles of packages covered in my paintings,” she said.

“I’ve had a lot of people following me on Instagram since then, and I think it introduced a lot of people to my work.”

Claudia spent the first seven years of life on the remote Bentick and Mornington Islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria, where she was raised by her late great-grandmother, May Moodoonuthi. Claudia is among the second generation of renowned artists from Bentinck Island – originally lead by the late Sally Gabori and May Moodoonuthi.

Although she moved to Aurukun and later Brisbane, Claudia’s work reflects her connection to country – the bold, colourful images influenced by her language, history and family.

After graduating from the QCA’s unique Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art program in 2016, Claudia has made her mark on the contemporary art scene. In 2017, she was awarded the Artbank +QPAC Commission, had work exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria and her painting My Body, My Country was projected onto the William Jolly Bridge as part of the Maiwar Festival in Brisbane.

Her work is held in public and private collections including National Gallery of Victoria, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Cairns Regional Gallery and the Queensland Health Collection.

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