Cherie Johnson is a Gamilaroi and Weilwun woman who resides in Newcastle, NSW and participates as an active member of the Awabakal Community. Her grandmother, Rachal Darcy, was born on the Beemunnal Mission in Warren, NSW.
Cherie is a PHd candidate researching the effects of urban Aboriginal Women coming to culture and the importance in the contemporary context. She is also a highly regarded lecturer in Aboriginal culture and education and is currently a casual lecturer at the University of Newcastle.
Cherie was awarded a Diploma in Teaching from the University of Newcastle in 2006 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Sydney in 2001. She has also studied dance through the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA). Cherie is also a keynote speaker at conferences and forums across Australia. She is also currently completing a number of major public artworks in Newcastle and recently exhibited her photographic and woven artworks in Perth, Sydney and Newcastle.
Cherie is a qualified visual artist and teacher with a passion for education and the arts. Cherie has combined these two passions by developing arts and educational resources for use in schools and other learning environments such as universities and community organisations. Through her business, Speaking in Colour, Cherie delivers insightful workshops and educational seminars about Australian Aboriginal cultures. The primary focus of Speaking in Colour is to embed Aboriginal cultural perspectives into the classroom through the delivery of well researched and structured arts activities and cultural education lessons.
I am passionate about reviving and celebrating local Aboriginal cultures through initiatives such as weaving native reeds and barks, recreating traditional possum skin cloaks and mapping cultural symbols from the region. My workshops are really popular with participants because they learn about contemporary Aboriginal culture in a fun way that relates to their own environment. We talk about locals things and relate them to places they all know and visit.
In 2011, Cherie along with the rest of the Aboriginal reference group at the Lake Maquarie art gallery was awarded the Local Government and Shires Association of NSW Cultural Award for Aboriginal Cultural Development for her project Wrapped in a Possum Skin Cloak: by the Lake. Cherie was one of two Aboriginal education consultants on this project.
In that year Cherie was also recognised at the Planning Institute of Australia Awards for her highly successful public engagement and community planning work in the Hunter region in her role as community consultant and artist.