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Darwin Street Art Festival

Kaff-eine is an Australian contemporary street artist who is no stranger to the Northern Territory.

by Isabella Mellios  

Her illustrative freehand style, delicate line work and melancholic characters have gained her a great following and she’s pumped to be back in the Territory painting at the Darwin Street Art Festival this month.

Kaff-eine had a yarn with Off The Leash about life and art.

When did you start painting?
I’ve been painting for seven years, but full-time only five years. So not that long really, but everyone paints and draws as a kid. Some of the characters I do are extensions of stuff I’ve been doing since I was little.
What’s your relationship with the Territory?
I love the Territory, it’s larger than life but it is real life – the weather is extreme, the people are huge characters, the landscape is incredible, the culture is amazing.

Before my painting trip earlier this year, I last came up here in 2003 as a volunteer for Garma and working with traditional owners on native title sea rights.
What’s it like to be back as a street artist?
I’m very aware I’m painting among the world’s first street artists. Cave painting is street art, it’s the same thing just in a different context. It was relevant then, and it’s relevant now. What can I do to honour that?
If I can work out where I sit and if it’s painting with the local community, I’d like to do something that acknowledges that history. The more remote the place the better for me, because it’s so lovely to share that cross-cultural creative collaboration.
You were a lawyer in a past life, how do those skills transfer to art?
I’m still an advocate, it’s just through walls now instead of through law. Now I’ve got the skills, I’ve worked out what I want to say and how to say it on walls. For the festival I’ll be looking to represent things or people who are not spoken about.

Thu 6 – Sun 16 Sep | Various | Free | See the event listing

Top image by Nicole Reed.

Bottom image by Marianne Ferguson.

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