Dressed head to toe in black, West End artist Kaiya Ferguson chuckles as she admits, “I’m not usually one who’s drawn to pink.” Though the colourful hues of her artwork (and personality, mind) compellingly beg to differ.

Kaiya Ferguson pieced together her first art exhibition at Ugee’s Espresso on Boundary Street in May, a showcase she describes as an amalgamation of paintings and photography tied together by the colour pink. “Most of the photographs were taken overseas; there’s a few from Sudan, a few from Israel, a few from Thailand, a few from London. West End is also a great source of inspiration; there’s some curious characters around here. I later decided I wanted the exhibit to include paintings as well, and they feature a lot of peculiar things. Men with multiple nipples, a witch character with six fingers, etc. It’s a mash.”

While her work demonstrates an expert ability at both steering the camera lens, and guiding pens and paintbrushes over paper,

her methods and tools are surprisingly humble ¬ an ode to her down-to-earth nature, and her university student’s budget. “The camera I’m using is a Pentax Asahi, and I actually feel pretty guilty about owning it,” she smirks. “I was at the markets in Athens, and there was a man selling broken cameras. Mine however, was perfect, and he was trying to sell it for 200 euros, so I flipped it open and lied, ‘Dude, this camera is missing a part. I’ll give you 20 euros for it’. In my defence, they normally sell for around $60 to $80 on eBay! In terms of paint, I’ll usually use whatever I can find in Coles. With acrylic, I admittedly can’t tell the difference between cheap and expensive tubes, but I’m definitely not a hard-core paint connoisseur!”

Kaiya balances her devotion to art with an ongoing medical degree, entwining two passions that brought her to a crossroad upon graduating from high school. “I decided it was easier to do art on the side of medicine, instead of medicine on the side of art. Backyard operations are highly

frowned upon,” she laughs. “As far as medicine’s concerned, I would love to do charity work in emergency or surgery with Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors without Borders, or Red Cross, even. I suspect I am doomed to a life of very low income, but I’m also okay with that. It forces me to be a little bit more creative.”

When asked for her ‘long-term plans’, Kaiya rattles off a list of goals and aspirations, revealing a fierce sense of ambition and strives to better not only herself, but the world around her. “The list truly is crazy. I want to become a scuba diving instructor, and also, a black belt in Muay Thai. Don’t know when that’s gonna happen,” she grins. “I’m certain art will always be a big part of my life; it’s good for my mental health, and a form of meditation for me. That’s one thing that can be difficult with medicine, to try and strike a balance of being in touch with the real world.”