My name is Kayla Rae. Through my mother’s line, I’m a descendant of the Meriam Mer people in the Torres Strait, and I have Celtic connections through my father. After graduating as a medical doctor from the University of Queensland in 2017, I worked in Brisbane until moving to Denmark in January 2020. Today, I travel between the two countries, practising medicine and art.
When I was younger, I was always inspired by and loved creating art but never had the chance to focus solely on art as a practice. This changed when I was studying medicine. I found that creating 'artistic' study notes of basic human anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology was the best way for me to learn.
About the Art
Three Realms represents three world views; the oceans, the land and the skies.
The first realm is the ocean, Sea Country, which is culturally essential to Torres Strait Islander peoples. The dugong is our Arabena clan totem and my art depicts a mother dugong with her calf. The swirls emanating from her mouth represent ancient songs and language, as the mother sings these stories to her baby, gently handing them down to the next generation.
The second realm is the land, which emerges from the ocean through a network of subterranean cells. These cells represent the base nutrients that connect and sustain life on land; the mycorrhizal network, soil microbes and plant roots sharing nutrients and supporting the biodiversity of all life on earth. Above the soil surface we see the variety of plants and flowers that provide nutrition, medicine, clean air, beauty, aroma, ceremony, and also the Ilan Style product ingredients in nature’s garden – Gedub, in Meriam Mer language. The barred lines that disappear in the horizon represent the duality of the wet and dry seasons in the tropical Torres Strait Islands, the give and take of nature. Both are needed in perfect balance to sustain life.
Emerging from the horizon is the third realm, the sky. Here we see within the constellation a depiction of Tagai, a guiding figure in Torres Strait Islander lore, and a means of navigating our way home. To the right of Tagai is a constellation representative of family and Ancestors – who are always present.