Katura Halleday is no stranger to standing up for what she believes in. A previous finalist for Gold Coast Citizen of the Year, the Women In Business Rising Star for 2019 and nominated for the 7 News Young Achiever award, as well as local and international art awards. Katura is the subject of a new short film by Jude Kalman and has just illustrated a book by local author Natasha Yates – Rina’s Story.
While Katura is humbled by these awards, she is acutely aware and grateful for the platform it allows her to have her voice heard, which seems to be the driving force for this young lady. She is passionate about two thing in her life, art being one and the other the education of young women in developing countries.
Halleday first became interested in visual art through her school. “I tried out lots of different art teachers until I met Gillian Grove from Artable. She saw something in me and took me under her wing, introducing me to many of the amazing art teachers we have here in Australia,” she said.
Halleday then travelled to Mozambique in 2018 to support the Mission Educate program. “I truly thought that I was prepared for what I would encounter but the reality of hearing firsthand the stories of struggle, the death of parents and heartache and hopelessness from girls my own age, my peers, was very confronting. I struggled with the concept that based purely on the location of my birth, I had so many more opportunities and choices in life. I felt a need to do something. Last year I raised enough money to educate three girls.”
Halleday firmly believes that art breaks down barriers and she experienced that first hand in Mozambique. “When I arrived some of the kids were a little wary of me … calling out ‘Muzoongoo’, when I walked past, which translates loosely into ‘White Man’. But then I got out some watercolour, and some brushes and introduced kids to a world of colour they had not seen before and before I knew it, we were all laughing and playing,” she said. “The pride on the faces of the kids when they did their first painting was humbling. Just to know that I was a part of that release of creativity was a huge privilege.”
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