Meet The Owner:
Meet Mick Harding of Ngarga Warendj located in Churchill, VIC
Tell Us A Little Something About Yourself
Mick is a proud Taungurung man, dedicated to protecting and reinvigorating culture within his community. He is actively involved in coordinating workshops to promote Aboriginal culture through his art and storytelling. He has a Masters of Fine Art.
What Inspired You To Start Your Own Business and What does your journey look like?
The aim for founders Mick and Nicole was to leave a legacy for their children and community by providing quality, culturally accurate products and services.
What Does Your Business Offer, And What Makes It Unique?
Ngarga Warendj – (Dancing Wombat) produces high quality contemporary Indigenous Art, using designs based on traditional symbols from South-East Australia.
Aboriginal art in Victoria is unique in its symbolism. It links with stories and songlines like fingers reaching out to other areas of Australia. When Mick creates something, he expresses his cultural integrity, being respectful of interpretation of culture and shares his story as a Taungwurrung Gulinj (Aboriginal man from my traditional country). "We are the first peoples of this land and have an ongoing responsibility to keep our culture alive and relevant in our current society. We belong to this land" The highly experienced team in Mick and Nicole Harding create and supply a range of products including gift lines and fine art, which can be suitable for the home, office or as unique corporate gifts. The business creates bespoke pieces suitable for a wide range of projects, some of which typically include the application of Logos, Reconciliation Action Plans, Strategic Plans and Public Art installations.
What does your Journey Look Like?
Mick has over 30 years experience in cultural heritage management and has served on a wide amount of Boards, Committees and Councils. Our business was launched in 2005 and has transitioned to the formation of a company early in 2020. We wanted to create a business to showcase South East Aboriginal Art and Culture
Did You Always Think You'd Be Doing This?
Mick always loved to draw as a child, worked in cultural heritage and in education sector for over 30 years but wanted to create a business that would combine all of his loves. And at the same time create a legacy for his children and the generations to come. Mick's love of sharing his culture with the wider community continues to this day, through conversations and stories created by his art, like his ancestors before him; whether its a piece of ceramic, artefact or an art installation.
What Are The Most Rewarding And Challenging Parts Of Your Job And Owning Your Own Business?
Rewards - doing what they love, creating art in all its forms and sharing collaborations and stories of culture with others.
Challenges - In our early years of business, wondering if Mick would have to get a real job to pay the bills. Building our business to a point that we become a company in 2020 and then coronavirus! Navigating the challenges of 2020 have made us think about how we do things in our business. Diversity in our business has allowed us to ride the ups and downs of 2020 and still be here. Crazy as it seems a positive of covid is we have become more visible.
Whats Your End Goal? The Moment You'll Know You've Achieved What You Want To?
Sharing the legacy is our end goal. Continuing to share South Eastern Aboriginal culture & stories and build something that will continue after we are no longer here. Bringing our eldest son into our business is the beginning of making this a reality.