Yana Tschuna

Arts Ceduna

Yana Tschuna was born in 1991 in Ceduna on the Westcoast of South Australia. Her connection to place comes through her parents and grandparents from the Wirangu and Gugada groups who have lived in the area for generations. While growing up Yana did not have much interest in painting, but through watching her grandmother Christine Tschuna paint, she developed an interest in the arts. Many members of her Gugada/Kokatha and Wirangu Elders and family are painters, but it was her grandmother that gave Yana her first canvas and set of paints, “and from then on I just kept going”, she says. “My mother and my brother have also taken up this tradition, and we love to share and compare ideas.” Yana uses dot painting and a needle tip dispenser when creating her paintings, which are mostly acrylic paint applied to canvas. “Painting is very therapeutic and it’s a creative way for me to bond with my family, which I love.” She is inspired by her elders and their stories, hence vibrant seasonal colors, often using contrasts to create visual interest, form a key feature of her work. She uses references to places and reptiles in her paintings, but she explains that she sees a painting before putting it on canvas: “It is like a lightning bolt moment; I see it and then I need to collect my materials and bring it together like a puzzle.” When Yana paints, her creations may change while working, but they all emerge from a clear vision.