Kat Clarke is a young Wotjobaluk woman from western Victoria. She writes poems, sings and paints in order to explore who she is. Her poems express family stories, ancestral connections and her own identity as a proud, strong Aboriginal woman.
Like many teenagers, Kat Clarke grew up wearing hooded jumpers. They have become symbols of youth and independence — even rebellion.
To explore her Aboriginal heritage, Kat designed her own distinctive hoodie. It is an expression of the different groups she belongs to — friends, peers and Wotjobaluk.
Kat Clarke's story
My name is Katherine Clarke. I was born here in Melbourne. I’m very proud to be a Wotjobaluk woman, and you know, it, I base my whole life around it really, you live it when you’re Indigenous you live it 24/7 and you know, it never ceases.
Being a big girl growing up as myself and I had a lot of that issues and but Mum always pushed me into being a leader so at that same time I had to battle with being up front, as a big girl, you know, and as well as sort of accepting that I’m black as well and that, you know, I’ve got that other problem that I’ve got to deal with, so you know, only just dealing with being black 24/7, dealing with being a big, 24/7. So you’re not getting the boyfriends as a girl, and you’re not getting, you know, the certain friends and you’re getting not picked for certain sports and things like that, you know. So it can really down-hearten you as a kid, growing up and affect you as an adult, personally and professionally, but in your development as an adult, growing up.
When I wear my hoodie, I know, I know that it’s no one else’s, that hoodie, you know that the feeling of knowing that no one else has this hoodie. You’ve got originality, you’re not a part of, the Eminem, you know and the whole 2Pac, and the Snoop Dogs and you know all that whole brand stuff, and you’re not part of a label, you know, yeah and just not being part of that whole commercialised, media world, in a sense, to where you’ve got something original, it’s unique, and one of a kind, or well five of a kind, you know, one of five, you know, and it’s knowing that yeah, it’s you. It’s you know, when I wear it I know that this is me, it’s mine, it’s no one else’s, it don’t belong to no one else, and there ain’t anything like it, so that sort of brings a bit of pride and just, yeah, it’s mainly pride more than anything, to it.
I wanted it more for, to show that young girls can go out, wear these hoodies, and own them, show that they know what the, you know, show that they can hang and be part of that, whole men’s sort of world, because it is a hip-hop are, you know, hoodies, it’s a real men thing and they see it as a gang thing, and it’s more yeah, it’s very, very male in that sense, so I really wanted it to show that women can do it and flaunt it and, you know, make it look good.