Gillian is a mixed-race CHamoru woman who was born and raised in Bremerton, WA. Self-taught, she began acrylic painting when she started college as a means of healing and improving her mental health. During her first quarter of college, she battled with severe depression. Using creativity as an outlet was essential to her healing and success as a first-generation college Student of Color. Her art centers her stories and perspectives as an Indigenous woman told through traditional legends, motifs, and aesthetics brought into a modern context. She also began to explore traditional artforms of her culture, such as weaving with pandanus leaves and jewelry making/carving with clam and spondylus shells. As her art journey progressed, Gillian saw how art could be used to connect with her ancestors and homeland while in the diaspora as well as practice storytelling and relationality with her community. Her love and passion of art has inspired her to pursue art in a professional setting as an art therapist for Pacific Islander and other Indigenous populations.
Photo by Surabhi Biyani, 2021.