“From the moment I even remember existing, I was drawing. I’d scribble with my mum’s lipstick, makeup, crayons, pastels, anything. I used to do little cartoon drawings I’d sell in primary school to make enough money to buy donuts that I wasn’t actually allowed to eat. Drawing has always been a huge part of my life. It’s a meditative thing I use to spend time with myself and be grounded, and be with my own thoughts. It helps you to process what you’ve lived through.
Toni Morrison is a huge inspiration for me. Beloved is one of my favourite books in the whole world. One of the key protagonist characters is a young black woman, and it’s basically set in the post-slavery south of America. And it’s just about stories, stories of the people of this time over the course of maybe 10, 20 years.
And Toni Morrison does the most beautiful job of both inspiring and conveying the strength of this one character, but also at the same time showing her vulnerability and the complete brokenness, and her lack of being complete or being strong, which is what I quite like.
That’s what makes her and Nina Simone, two of my favourite feminist heroes, because they’re both strong but also tender at the same time. And I think that is beautiful, and it captures the human spirit very well.
I’ve loved working with the Victorian Women’s Trust, it’s quite nice to work and produce work for clients who have a perspective that you can back completely. It makes it feel much more than simply producing a drawing. It’s quite possible to have it feed both your mind and your soul in a pretty nice way.”
As told to Esther Davies-Brown
Michelle Pereira is a Melbourne based illustrator whose work regularly features an array of confident women standing tall against a backdrop of vibrant colours and geometric shapes. We’ve worked with Michelle on a number of projects including our recent book About Bloody Time: the Menstrual Revolution We Have to Have and a range of feminist artworks.
→ We collaborated with Michelle to create two A2 posters that pay homage to Carol Porter’s iconic 1997 artworks Don’t Get Mad, Get Elected! and To Every Woman: Money Power Freedom. Available now on the VWT Shop.