Emma-Louise ‘Mulganai’ Hollingsworth is a Kaanju woman located in South East Queensland, Australia who produces fine Indigenous artworks. She grew up travelling in Australia with her family, visiting many Aboriginal communities which reflects the diversity of her work through those experiences. From these grassroots moments, she learned and developed her own style, and Mulganai was born.
George Takes Twelve
1. Pleasantries first… Tell us about who you are and what you do?
My name is Emma Hollingsworth. I’m a proud Kaanju woman and I run Mulganai which is a contemporary First Nation art brand. I paint about my own journey as a young Indigenous woman who is owning her culture and what it means to be a Black woman in this day and age. I also paint and talk about social issues that I have experienced in my life.
2. When I was growing up I wanted to be….
I always wanted to be an artist. From a young age I was drawing and painting on anything I could find and that passion has stuck with me to this day.
3. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Keep going. Be persistent and persevere through anything that comes your way and stay true to who you really are.
4. What is your favourite way to get the creative juices flowing?
I love going outside and getting out of the house (where my studio is). A change of scenery always gets my creative juices flowing, especially when there is fresh air and nature involved. Getting grounded and having my bare feet on the earth works every time.
5. What does your average work day look like?
I wake up, throw on some tunes, have a coffee and check emails. If I don’t hit the gym, I head into the studio straight away and check what needs to be done. It could be signing prints, finishing an artwork or packing an artwork. If I have a big project coming up with a brand I’ll sketch out or plan the project. This stage can take hours, sometimes even days.
Sometimes I’ll do an inventory check and order more stock if I need to. If I also have a huge order of prints come in I’ll get my team together and we’ll spend the day packing and sorting through it all. Then we’ll do a shipping run at the end of the day.
6. If you could invite any five celebrities to dinner, who’s dining?
Rihanna, Celeste Barber, Thelma Plum, Chris Hemsworth & The Rock.
7. What was the last rule you broke?
I’m my own boss and don’t live by rules so I guess I haven’t broken any..
8. What’s one thing people may not know about you?
I come from a huge family of 10 people.
9. What was the last movie you saw and was it any good?
Rambo: Last Blood – it was good, albeit a little gory but that’s Rambo for ya.
10. You’ve got a week off… where are you headed?
To the coast or the mountains! Fresh air and sunshine make my life a million times better and I’m constantly wishing to go. I can’t wait for the day I can take a week off and soak up the sunshine in Portofino or the Maldives.
11. What’s your favourite project/design so far and why?
My favourite design so far has been my Pink Lady artwork which is being released soon as a print. She’s so pink and bright and she has this beautiful gold halo behind her which represents her glow as she brings a child into the world.
12. What’s next for you? Any exciting new projects in the pipeline…
I have so many projects coming up that I’m so excited for but are under wraps for now so you’ll have to stay tuned!
Meet the Maker Radio
“These are the songs I listen to when I’m in my creative zone. I plug my AirPods in and let the music take me to another time and place. When I listen to this music I feel so empowered, inspired and capable that I just let my brush take over and create whatever my spirit wants to create. Sometimes I just like to put my earphones in, sit back and close my eyes and let the music take me to another dimension. You should try it.” – Emma
Where to find her
Photography by Michelle Swan