Elverina Johnson is one of Australia’s most renowned and celebrated First Nations artists and a highly respected Gunggandji woman hailing from Yarrabah, situated in Far North Queensland. With her talents spanning visual and performing arts, she is passionate about telling stories through her work that have been passed down to her from her ancestors, and believes in the empowerment that comes from using art as a platform to express culture.
Elverina’s art, which has become synonymous with bold prints and bright colours, comes to life when paired with fashion. Each print takes inspiration from the beauty of nature and the history of her people and her work has featured in collections in the First Nations Show at the 2021 Sydney Fashion Festival and the 2021 Brisbane Fashion Festival. In 2022, she launched her first line with Australian retailer, Taking Shape, who use Elverina’s bespoke prints across a capsule collection of their curvy silhouettes.
Meanwhile, close to heart, Elverina has been working on her own brand, Pink Fish. Through Pink Fish she hopes to represent her community and the Gungganji people, and the stories that have been passed down to her from her ancestors.
Already widely celebrated for her art, contribution to the creative industry and her work in the community, Elverina is a recipient of major civic awards, including the Rona Tranby Trust Award and the State of Queensland's Smart Women Smart State Award for Community Innovation. Elverina was also awarded the National NAIDOC Artist of the Year in 2017 and the Yarrabah International Women’s Day Woman of the Year in 2018. Elverina has also represented her community at the United Nations, highlighting issues facing Indigenous women and is a Graduate and Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Program.
Through creating Pink Fish she also hopes to give First Nations designers and models the opportunity to be part of the brand as it develops, by walking in her clothes and being a part of telling her stories.
Elverina Johnson says, "This opportunity wouldn't just be about me but also about supporting other First Nations designers, models and members of the community.”
Her goal is for her business to be known worldwide, with customer access to her designs in stores across Australia and the globe.