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Aboriginal artist's inspirational journey

Aboriginal artist James Cummins is looking forward to a bright future as an artist, after his remarkable journey out of homelessness.

James is a client of Red Cross in Queensland's Hervey Bay. He's currently enjoying a number of exhibitions of his art work in regional towns in the area, where he dreams of opening his own art gallery one day.

The proud Barkanji man's paintings and sculptures have already been exhibited in capital cities and around his local community. His work attracts good sales and he's gaining growing recognition as a talented artist.

James is passionate about creating understanding and awareness for young Indigenous people to connect to their backgrounds through creative cultures. "I want to keep art and storytelling up-to-date for the younger generations," James says.

James joined a Red Cross program in May this year, seeking support while he was homeless and suffering with mental health issues.

His Red Cross case worker Errol Rafter helped James find permanent accommodation in Hervey Bay, allowing him to focus on his creative and entrepreneurial work.

"The volunteers and workers are really good people," James says. "I met Errol through a friend and when I showed him my artwork he loved it!"

Errol says he's there for James when he needs a supportive friend who will listen; and also helped James access medical treatment to manage his mental health and wellbeing.

James' artwork includes beautifully crafted cultural paintings that are a reflection of his journey through life; each artwork telling a unique story of its own. This creativity allows him to practice story-telling and has led James to successfully turning this passion into a career.

His artwork has also helped his mental health recovery and has motivated him to overcome personal challenges. James grew up with his dad in Western NSW where he first started painting when he was 12 years old.

"I used to paint didgeridoos with Elders when I was growing up," James says.

James came up to Queensland three years ago, where he continued to explore and teach Indigenous art. He says every piece he creates has its own identity, each painting with its own individual meaning and inspirations.

James' sights are now set on opening his own art gallery in the future where he will sell his artwork as well as continuing to teach the history and culture of Aboriginal art.

Red Cross believes that everyone deserves a home that is safe, secure and affordable. On the Fraser Coast we work with a broad cross section of people: those made vulnerable through homelessness or mental health issues, to supporting parents around literacy and reading within the home to working with at risk young people. Red Cross has long been active in the local community and is well known for its partnerships with local agencies.

Around Australia we work with people facing homelessness and with mental health issues. To support our everday work in Australia donate online or call 1800 811 700