ARTISTS are central to Kids’ Own’s model of community publishing. The Artists engaged to work on Kids’ Own projects empower participants in the art and story making that becomes each published book. Kids’ Own Artists work in a way that honours the authentic, unfiltered and infinitely imaginative voice of children that make up the diversity of contemporary Australia. Artists model creative thinking and risk taking, and share their own practice within each project.

ARTISTS are engaged on a contract basis, and are supported in project delivery by training, professional development opportunities and mentoring. Kids’ Own has developed a strong core team of artists, and loves to discover new Artists from the communities with which we work. Each year we offer a free training day to new Artists, which is a chance for participants to find out more about the role of the Artist in children’s community publishing, and for Kids’ Own to learn more about each Artist’s individual practice. Please send your CV, or other relevant material, to this email if you would like to register interest in working with Kids’ Own Publishing .

Lead Artists

Ana Rita Pires – artist

Ana Rita has lived her life between Portugal and Australia. This sharing of territory has been a catalyst in the development of her work as a visual artist and arts educator. Her work questions themes such as migration, identity and place. Some of her projects have involved working with culturally diverse youth groups, developing work as an arts educator, artists’ residencies in West Africa and the ongoing dedication to her drawings and paintings. Ana Rita completed her formal education in 2007 graduating with a painting diploma from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon, Portugal. Ana Rita and her partner Mito Elias are both founders and artists at Fandata Studio, a Sunshine based arts studio that works closely with the community, using as many mediums as necessary to translate ideas, an exploratory space where hands, hearts and minds come together.

Ana Rita has been the facilitating artist on two projects with Kids’ Own Publishing Kids’ Own Languages project, co-creating the books Somewhere in the Middle, and Heart Language. She is also working on two forthcoming publishing projects with Vietnamese speaking communities.

Anna Rita Pires

Betty (Hailan) Gu – graphic designer

Betty Gu is a Melbourne/Naarm-based graphic designer who strives to create vibrant and playful designs that have meaningful outcomes. She is currently studying for a Bachelor of Communication Design and a Bachelor of IT at Monash University.  Betty worked for Kids’ Own Publishing as a support artist and exhibition designer for the book We Love You Mother Earth. She has worked as a trainee designer on three Kids’ Own Publishing projects, and the graphic designer on three books as part of the Kids’ Own Languages program: Everyone’s Animal, Heart Language, and Yjaaz and the Talented Souls of Children.

Ching Ching Liang – artist

I.Ching2 is a Melbourne-based creative human being who grew up in Malaysia and is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art at Monash University. Ching2 creates art based on the observation of human and expresses her stories and dreams through the materiality of painting, sculpture, photography, film and clothes – a reflection of personal growth and persistence. I.Ching2 has exhibited her work extensively throughout Malaysia and Melbourne, and in 2019 received the Frank Fisher Award for outstanding contribution to multicultural community health care. I.Ching2 speaks English, Malay, Cantonese, Mandarin and a little Hokkien. She has been a lead or support artist on more than six Kids’ Own Publishing projects.

Kathy Holowko – artist and graphic designer

Kathy has worked as a facilitating artist and a graphic designer with Kids’ Own Publishing since 2010 and has been involved in upwards of thirty book publishing projects. Kathy loves sculpture, and its many dimensions. She searches for narratives and connections that can help reconsider our world as a cyclical, and shared habitat, creating sculptural works, installations, public art and playful projects in a variety of media.

She works both solo and in collaboration with artists, museums, ecologists, rangers, wildlife carers, scientists, industry and other humans of all scales. Kathy completed a Masters of Fine Art In Utrecht, Netherlands. Her work has appeared at Federation Square, NGV, White Night, National Wool Museum, Sculpture by The Sea, ArtPlay, Bendigo Conservatory, Montalto, Albury Library Museum, Utrecht University Museum, and BAK Gallery amongst others.

Farzana Rahimi – artist and graphic designer

Farzana Rahimi is a graphic designer and artist who came on board with Kids’ Own Publishing in 2022 to bring her unique combination of art, design and Hazaragi language to the Kids’ Own Languages children’s community publishing program. She worked on both The Legend of Buz e Chini and The Cheeky Rabbit – Kids’ Own Publishing’s two recent books with Hazaragi community.

Michael Camilleri – artist

Michael is an award-winning illustrator and artist who works at the crossroads of fine art, theatre, education, popular arts like animation, illustration and comics, and fun stuff for kids. He creates storyboards for film and TVCs (sampler here🙂 and concept design and content for public institutions and education, including animation (sampler here).By his own confession, Michael’s work with Kids’ Own Publishing as ‘Grand Imaginator’ for the Grand Imaginarium and Kids’ Own Art Books at the NGV Melbourne Art Book Fair has been ‘by way the funnest’.

Jenna Lee – graphic designer

Jenna Lee is a Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri woman with mixed Asian and Anglo Australian ancestry who has made her home in Naarm. Her cross-disciplinary contemporary art practice explores the relationships between language, label and object through ritualistic acts of deconstruction and reconstruction. Jenna works as an independent book designer specialising in culturally informed design of book covers, catalogues and exhibition identity in the gallery and museum world. Jenna has been shortlisted for art awards and in 2020 was the recipient of the Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award at the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA). Jenna designed This is My Homethe fourth in a series of inter-generational books with families of South Sudanese heritage living in outer-metropolitan Melbourne and Gippsland.

Sharon Hughes – artist

Sharon Hughes is a Yamitji woman born in Wongan Hills Western Australia. She is one of eight children in her Aboriginal family. Sharon has always had a passion for books – making, reading and printing them, in particular children’s books, and she loves making books with her niece Tahlia. She works as an early childhood educator, writer, storyteller, role model and artist. She is passionate about teaching children and wants every young person to believe that they can be and do anything. Sharon has co-written and published three children’s books with Indijreaders. Sharon was lead artist on the book project Our Hands and Big Feed Big Mob.

Sofia Sabbagh – artist

Sofia Sabbagh is an ecological and community-engaged artist living on Wurundjeri Country. She uses arts-based research, story-telling and visual ecology to study the local environment, and her role in it as a settler Australian. Her work is informed by her Palestinian and Irish heritage, and the need for land/earth rights via stories which generate hope. Sofia’s comics have been published in Overland and she has produced art for clients such as City of Melbourne, Moreland City Council, Fisheries Authority, Melbourne City of Literokere, APAN, Bunjil’s Biik, CEREs Joe’s Market Garden and more.

As an arts organiser she has worked for organisations such as Footscray Community Arts Centre, City of Melbourne, School of Untourism, REDine, NECCHi, ArtPlay CEREs. Sofia also founded The Merri Kids Club, as featured on Gardening Australia. In 2022 Sophia facilitated the co-creation of the book Wildlings Playground with children from the Yarra Ranges as part of a storm recovery project with Kids’ Own Publishing.

Sunari Sooriaaratchi ­– artist

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Sunari Sooriaaratchi is an artist with a studio practice spanning more than 28 years. Over her career, Sunari has worked as an artist with children and adults in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Australia, amongst various communities. Being a migrant of mixed heritage, who speaks three languages, she has first-hand lived experience of issues facing women migrants and their children in Australia.

During her tenure as curator/director of Gallery Voltaire in North Melbourne, Sunari curated and designed immersive art experiences especially for children in the form of installations that visiting children would consistently create, deconstruct and recreate. She co-hosted the art pavilion in the remote village of Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka in 2019 which formed part of the Wild Collective Festival – a festival focused on community, arts, culture and environmental issues, in which she guided both children and adults. In 2022 Sunari facilitated the co-creation of The Dry Village, a Kids’ Own Languages picture book, with children from Sikh Volunteers Australia. Her passion lies with working with children and art.

Kids Own Publishing is proud to have collaborated with the following artists:

Anna Walker
Bern Emmerichs https
Brigid May
Cassie Leatham
Briony Barr
Christy Flaws
Idil Ali
Hayley Tanzer
Jeanette Hoe
Jenny Ellis
John Wolseley
Lisa Gardiner
Luke Duncan King
Mathew Gardiner
Nikita Hederics
Peter Waples Crowe
Romy Bradbeer
Trace Balla
Vonda Keji