Culture / People

26 First Nations artists and creatives to follow on Instagram

19 First Nations artists and creatives to follow on Instagram

Whether you're a strictly scheduled twenty-minutes-a-day kind of person or let it rip and scroll into the early AM, it's clear that Instagram has a hold on us. When used to its full potential, Instagram can be a powerful tool for finding people and communities outside our orbit. The platform grants us an exclusive look into the world of others, from their creative process, outfit choices, what's on their mind to their politics. It's a potent resource and space for learning, and for those of us who harbour a fondness for art and culture, it's a great way to tap into local talent and creative visionaries.

Emphasis on the local. Too often we overlook the creators here in so-called Australia, that's why at RUSSH we're bringing you some of our favourite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and creatives to follow on Instagram. Be it through music, painting, storytelling, writing, or a mix of mediums, these are the Indigenous artists we go to for inspiration, learning and overall joy.


1. Mia Boe (@mia.khin.boe)


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Boe is an emerging painter from Brisbane (Meanjin) with Butchulla and Burmese ancestry. Now based in Melbourne (Naarm), her work often explores the idea of cultural disinheritance, seeking to record and recover Indigenous histories in her practice.


2. Sycco (@syccoworld)


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Sycco (real name Sasha McLeod) is an Indigenous singer-songwriter and producer from Brisbane (Meanjin). Since being places on high-rotation after submitting her song Peacemaker to Triple J Unearthed, she's now in the studio with Flume, opening for Tame Impala, and carving out prime real estate on a tonne of Aussie festival lineups – from Laneway Festival to Splendour in the Grass.


3. Otis Hope Carey (@otishopecarey)


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Carey is a Gumbaynggirr Bundjalung First Nations contemporary artist working across the mediums of painting and sculpture. A nominee for the 2020 Wynne Prize, a proud father and pro surfer, Carey's works looks to subvert and reinterpret fragments of traditional symbols and stories as a way of bridging culture and understanding.


4. Bianca Hunt (@_biancahunt_)


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Television presenter and talent agent, Hunt is a Kamilaroi, Barkindji, Ballardong and Whadjuk woman. When she's not serving looks at AAFW, she's appearing in campaigns for the likes of Bonds, or on TV as a cast member of I'm a Celebrity. 


5. Soju Gang (@soju_gang)


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Sky Thomas aka Soju Gang is a DJ based in Melbourne (Naarm) and an active member of the Indigenous community in Dandenong. Flock to her Instagram page for a healthy dose of shareable content. From memes, infographics, swanky outfits and a personal favourite, 'Lazy Kitchen', where she makes the chore of cooking and eating on a budget more endurable and supremely funny.


6. Budjerah (@budjerah)


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Indigenous singer-songwriter Budjerah hails from the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, his soulful crooning and knack for songwriting transporting him to stages alongside Kylie Minogue, Temper Trap and Ed Sheeran.


7. Mo'Ju (@moju_music)


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Mojo Ruiz de Luzuriaga first drifted into our vision with their powerful album Native Tongue, that spoke to their hybrid experience as a queer, Wiradjuri and Filipino person. Through social media and their music, Mo'Ju is inviting and warm, yet unflinching in their effort to take up space and be heard.


8. Aretha Brown (@_enterthedragon)


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Let Aretha in. Just as the personal is political, Aretha Brown's art is inextricably linked to her activism. Working across multiple disciplines like film, painting and sculpture, she calls attention to the colonising force of our current systems, and practical ways to dismantle them in our everyday lives. A large focus being on the complete absence of Aboriginal history in the Australian school curriculum and decolonising art spaces in this country.


9. Shaun Daniel Allen (@shalxvx)


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Drawing on his ties to country, tattoo artist and painter Shaun Daniel Allen or Shal creates a new visual language for First Nations art. It's an act of survival and resilience against dispossession and the deliberate destruction of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge systems. Head over to Shal's Instagram page to see his latest exploration with natural pigments like ochre.


10. Nina Fitzgerald (@neeenaar)


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Nina wears many hats. From photographer, creative director, writer, and with a resume that lists the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation, she's no stranger to the creative industries. Currently living and working in Darwin after graduating from Melbourne University with a Bachelor of Science in 2017, she's an enigmatic figure, one that we're gratefully afforded a glimpse of over social media.


11. Nakkiah Lui (@nakkiah)


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An Australian icon. Hailing from Mount Druitt on Dharug country, she's established herself as a formidable writer, comedian and actor on TV shows like Black Comedy and Preppers. Her voice is one that sings with authenticity and humour, and she's never afraid to call a spade a spade.


12. Dameeeela (@dameeeela)


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We love Dameeeela. The Yuggera woman has DJ'ed her way into our hearts through multiple festival appearances and radio segments – from Boiler Room sets to opening for Fred Again at his side shows. Prepare for an education with her 'Techno is Black' mix.


13. Barkaa (@barkaa__)


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A mother first and foremost, a tireless community leader and a searing voice in Australian rap. Candid, irreverent and unwavering in her commitment to create space for First Nations women and their experiences. If you're yet to listen to her music, we suggest starting with For My Tittas and King Brown.


14. Thelma Plum (@thelmaplum)


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Thelma Plum is a national treasure. She has the voice of an angel and the essence of an artist who is comfortable in their own skin. Her album Better in Blak should be considered essential listening, with Homecoming Queen on repeat. Keep in touch with her tours and gigs through Instagram.


15. Luke Currie-Richardson (@balaluke)


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A Bangarra dance artist alumni, model, photographer and storyteller, Luke has performed at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week  and continues to be a stalwart in Australia's creative scenes. His Instagram is both a loving tribute to culture and a fierce clarion call to decolonise.


16. Becca Hatch (@beccaxhatch)


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A rising star. Samoan and Kamilaroi musician Becca Hatch is making waves as another majorly talented artist to come out of Western Sydney. Her honeyed vocals are heavenly with an Instagram presence to match. Her cover of Burn for You and original song 2560 were some of my top listens last year.


17. Meissa Mason (@meissamason)

Meissa is the blueprint for gen-z creatives. Incredible makeup? Tick. Bold style? Naturally. Socially and politically engaged? You bet. Her content deals in unpacking stereotypes, platforming other First Nation's creatives and Black excellence more broadly, as well as raising awareness for current issues facing First Nations communities across the country.


18. Tallulah (@tallulahsrash)


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All followers of Gomeroi and Lebanese creative Tallulah can expect community updates interspersed with informative statistics and commentary on the mainstream reporting of humanitarian issues, as well as sex positive content. As an artist, they approaches these issues with grit and determination, and loves a moody collage.


19. Magnolia Maymuru (@_mewuraa_)


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Maminydjama Maymuru, known as Magnolia Maymuru, is an Indigenous Australian actress and model who won Best Supporting Actress at the 9th AACTA awards for her portrayal in The Nightingale, and was Australia's first Indigenous Miss World Australia finalist. Raised in Yirrkala, a small community in the East Arnhem Region of the Northern Territory, Maymuru is now a fixture on Australian runways and fashion editorials.


20. Jazz Money (@jazzmoney_______)


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Money is a poet, artist and filmmaker of Wiradjuri and Irish heritage, currently based on Gadigal Country in Sydney, Australia. Her practice places focus on the written word, but encompasses installation, digital, film and print works. She's also an award-winning, internationally published author.


21. Madeleine Madden (@madeleine_madden)


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Hailing from a long lineage of First Nations activists, including grandfather Charles Perkins, aunty and filmmaker Rachel Perkins, her mother and art curator Hetti Perkins, and sister, artist Thea Anamara Perkins, Madeleine Madden is a creative person in her own right; an actor who's starred in The Wheel of Time, Mystery Road, Redfern Now, and more.


22. Shari Lee Sebbens (@sharileesebbens)


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While you may recall Shari Lee Sebbens for her role in The Sapphire's by Wayne Blair, chances are you may seen one of her plays as the Sebbens has turned to directing in recent years. She co-directed the popular and poignant staging of 7 Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner, helmed the production of Sydney Theatre Company's Fences and was brought on by Taika Waititi to help direct Marvel film, Thor: Ragnorok.

23. Evelyn Araluen (@evelynaraluen)


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Evelyn Araluen is an awarded poet raised on Dharug country and currently living in Naarm. Her book Dropbear won the Stellar Prize and was also shortlisted for both the 2021 Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection and the 2022 Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. On top of this, Araluen co-edits the prestigious Overland Literary Journal.

24. Sherry-Lee Watson (@sherryleewatson)


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Sherry-Lee Watson is a breakout star from the beloved reboot of Heartbreak HighAn Arrernte woman hailing from Mparntwe, Watson has been busy filming the show's anticipated second season and we can't wait to see what she does next.


25. Tony Albert (@tonyalbert)


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A formidable artist, unafraid to tackle political truths and untruths through his practice. Tony Albert is concerned with interrogating the stereotypes that he, as an Aboriginal man of Girramay, Yidinji and Kuku Yalanji descent, must content with. Read the interview between Tony Albert and Daniel Boyd from the inaugural issue of RUSSH Home.


26. Brandi Salmon (@brandisalmon.artist)


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Tongan and Wiradjuri woman Brandi has been painting for almost a decade, and creates original artworks, as well as purchasable mugs, totes and art cards.



Explore fashion from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective with our favourite First Nation's designers. Seeking out more First Nation's voices on TikTok? Follow these accounts.

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Images: one, two, three, four.