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Jo Stuurman stares into the distance. An orange and cyan Indigenous artwork is in the background.

Jo talks the power of art

Jo lived through the stolen generation, and this experience has driven the direction of his art and creative flow.

Last Tuesday BFF had the privilege of catching up with one of our most beloved artists, Jo Stuurman. Jo happily showed us some of his new artworks which feature vibrant Indigenous patterns and quirky imaginings of native Australian wildlife.

We’re excited to get cracking and are looking forward to bringing his unique designs to life. We can’t reveal too much about these artworks, but we were captured by their strong themes and Jo’s passion.

Over a couple of meat pies, Jo filled us in on the direction his artworks are taking and his desire to enter the American market.

His work is authentic in the sense that it comes from a place of pure expression. Jo iterated the importance of not rushing creativity. In his retirement he is happy to relax and wait for the ideas to flow; nothing is forced and his artwork forms naturally, and that’s just the way he likes it.

Much of Jo’s inspiration stems from his experience working with Indigenous students and reuniting families from the stolen generation.

A victim of the stolen generation himself, Jo spent a good part of his career reconnecting families separated as a result of Australia’s dark history.

It was the reunion with his mother that opened Jo up to art, describing it as a spiritual experience that connects him back to the land. Since becoming acquainted with his biological mother he has been able to successfully communicate this message in his artworks.

After consuming his meat pie we reminisced over Jo’s time working in the Oodgeroo unit at QUT, speaking of the impact everyday people can have on one another’s lives.

The Oodgeroo unit operates inside the University as a support network for Indigenous students. Whenever Jo goes back to visit QUT he is taken back by the students that notice him.

Artwork is the tool he uses to extend his impact and empower indigenous culture.

After our conversation it was clear that Jo has once again made an impression on us at Best Foot Forward. He is exactly the type of character that we as a business would like to embody, sharing all the same values and aspirations of culture and community.

It was our pleasure to once again catch up with Jo. He is a bright and bubbly personality and we are delighted to be working with him once more in the future.

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