Kalina Yaryins (to love my sisters)
Born 1974, Kulin Country-Footscray, Victoria
I give acknowledgement, gratitude and respect to the Kaurna Peoples, Elders and Community in my time here at Tandanya, thank you.
Paola Balla is a Wemba-Wemba and Gunditjmara woman of the Day & Egan Families & is of Italian & Chinese migrant heritage. Raised on Yorta Yorta Country, Echuca, Paola was raised by her mother, aunties and grandmother strong in her Wemba Wemba identity and spent her school holidays in Footscray with her Italian migrant father.
She is an artist, mother, curator, writer, speaker, educator and creative producer and developed FCAC’s Indigenous Art & Culture Program, a lecturer at Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit-Victoria University, a Senior Curator in the First Peoples exhibition at Melbourne Museum and has been commissioned by the City of Melbourne and Victoria University. Paola has exhibited regularly over the past fifteen years.
Paola’s work puts the gaze back on whiteness and colonization by asserting her identity as a sovereign woman and as the descendant of Matriarchs. Her work addresses the racist definitions of Aboriginality and integrates this through new imagery & installation with works that speak of trauma, grief and loss and the need to de-colonise and re-matriate.
Paola’s work is driven by a commitment to justice, addressing trans generational colonial trauma (particularly on women & children), creating spaces for people to have ownership and voice through de-colonising practices and the assertion of sovereignty.
Paola’s lived experience of sexual trauma, adversity and mental health breakdown are expressed through her work and are ultimately an expression of not just survivance but of healing, truth telling and personal sovereignty.
Currently, Paola is artist in residence at Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit, Victoria University conducting site specific works, writing and research into trans generational trauma and colonial injury and it’s impacts on Aboriginal women as a creative project for her Creative Thesis PhD.
Paola holds a Masters & Post Graduate Diploma in Community Cultural Development Practice, from the Victorian College of the Arts and a Bachelor of Education, Nyerna Studies (Indigenous Studies) Victoria University.
Paola lives in her birthplace on Kulin Country, Footscray with her family.