Darebin Art Collection

The Life and Times of Bundoora Homestead

Public Description: 

Aunty Marlene Gilson is a proud Wadawaurrung traditional owner and Elder. Her multi-figure paintings work to overturn colonial narratives by re-contextualising the representation of historical events. Learning Wathaurung history from her grandmother, Marlene began painting in 2008 as a form of therapy, while recovering from an illness. She has received considerable accolades and most recently exhibited a series of works in the Sydney Biennale (2018).

The artist’s meticulously rendered works display a narrative richness and theatrical quality akin to the traditional genre of history painting. Marlene has developed an extensive body of work which relates to her ancestral lands which covers Ballarat, Werribee, Geelong, Skipton and the Otway Ranges in Victoria.

Marlene was invited to create a new work for the Darebin Art Collection that either related to the City of Darebin or her traditional lands. She chose the subject of Bundoora Homestead for this new commission and has included First Nations people alongside colonial settlers and members of the Smith Family enabling an opportunity to reflect on the incredible history of Bundoora Homestead and its surrounds. This painting brings Aboriginal people and Colonialists into the one space living harmoniously and in doing so reminds us that reconciliation may be a possibility.

"We visited Bundoora Homestead and farm, what an amazing place. In my research I found that Mr Smith built a stone hut for the Aboriginal people to stay when they visited. They bred cattle and horses, Wallace being the greatest sire in Australia and is buried on the property. They had three gardeners and four children, which I have painted in the garden with Mr and Mrs Smith seated watching the children play.
Thank you for allowing me to look into the history of John and Helen Smith. I hope I have captured their life and amazing Homestead and surrounds. 31.8.18"

Holding On

Public Description: 

HOLDING ON, 2015 is a performance piece which captures a struggle between the body of the artist and the body of the ocean as the tide gradually comes in. The artist lies on a concrete slab which stretches out into the ocean; a man-made island. Underestimating the ferocity and strength of the incoming waves, she struggles to maintain her grasp on the island. As the light fades into darkness, it is unknown whether she will be able to hold on or be swept away.

This video was filmed on Tuvalu, in the South Pacific. It is one of the most endangered nations currently facing the impacts of climate change, as each day the tide claims more of the island and submerges peoples’ homes in ocean water.

This video provides a small view of a major issue concerning many people world-wide, and a metaphor for unyielding faith of those confronted by imminent disaster. As day turns to night and untamed waves sweep across the artist’s body she lays prostrate, arms outstretched, desperately holding on to the stone platform, to her island, to the hope of salvation. The waves wash across her body in an almost cleansing motion. Tiatia’s video speaks of the constant and unrelenting faith required of the people of Tuvalu, who confront a monumental challenge each day and struggle against it.

Angela Tiatia explores contemporary culture, drawing attention to its relationship to representation, gender, neo-colonialism and the commodification of the body and place, often through the lenses of history and popular culture.

Tiatia's work has been included in a number of important institutional exhibitions, including After the Fall, National Museum of Singapore (2017/2018); Personal Structures, 57th Venice Biennial (2017); Eighth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT 8), Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2015/16); as well as Tūrangawaewae: Art and New Zealand, Toi Art, Gallery of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand (2018).

She is represented by Sullivan + Strumpf in Sydney, Australia.


Public Description: 

Penny Byrne's sculptural works are politically charged, highly engaging and often disarmingly humorous. Using materials such as bronze, glass, vintage porcelain figurines and found objects, Byrne's work presents an ongoing inquiry into popular culture and international politics. Her background in ceramics conservation and the law informs her practice. Byrne's ability to work across varying mediums and scales exemplifies how she challenges the boundaries and assumptions around her art.

In 2015 Byrne exhibited in Glasstress Gotika a collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale.

Darebin Creek

Public Description: 

Shannon Smiley was commissioned to create this painting in 2017. As part of his research he explored Darebin Creek and surrounds. He explains the inspiration behind his new work. ‘I'm enjoying making this work and becoming intimate with the Darebin area. I’ve been exploring the edge lands of Darebin, chasing down historically significant sites I've heard about, like the U.S. military bunkers and the place where the Batman treaty was signed.’ he said. Smiley looks to the Australian suburban environment for places of enchantment. In the overlooked and undefined spaces without purpose or function, a wilderness grows with an urgent will to live. Smiley’s works are romantic depictions of contemporary landscape.

Shannon Smiley is a graduate of VCA. His practice has been acknowledged through a number of significant awards including Metro Art Prize (winner, 2012) and the John Leslie Art Prize (winner, 2014). Shannon recently won the People´s Choice Award for the inaugural Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize 2015. His work is held in public and private collections including the Ballarat Art Gallery and Gippsland Art Gallery.

Torrent, Slipstream, Wanderer

Public Description: 

Claire Mooney’s recent works take inspiration from textiles and quilting, bringing together fragments of colour and pattern to create images that inexorably slide from order to disorder. The works play with an ambiguity of construction and destruction. Using collage, photography, print transfer and paint, the splintered parts of nature-pattern and ornament are woven, layered and flattened together, aligning with or interrupting the other, seeking a final dissolution. Mooney was commissioned to create this new triptych in response to the local environment of Darebin.

Claire Mooney completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) at RMIT in 1999, a Master of Visual Art at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2004, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education at the University of Melbourne in 2010. She has been a practising artist for the past 15 years, and has exhibited her work regularly in solo and curated shows. Since 2006, Claire has been actively involved in the Melbourne ARI (artist run initiative) sector and most recently, Education Program Coordinator at BLINDSIDE. In addition to her ongoing arts practice, Claire currently teaches Art at Montmorency Secondary College.

She never speaks about herself, she could be anything.

Public Description: 

Lambe’s work 'She never speaks about herself, she could be anything.' was the recepient of the 2017 Darebin Art Prize. Lambe was awarded the prize by a judging panel that included Professor of Art and Performance at Deakin University, David Cross; artist Lou Hubbard and Curator of Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, Claire Watson.

Cross said of Lambe’s photograph, “The winning work demonstrates an extraordinary acuity, a stunning economy of image, text, materiality and concept. It evokes a quiet but sustained resonance and captures an illusion of visual complexity and haptic experience.”

Claire Lambe completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at Bristol College of Art in 1985, followed by postgraduate studies at the University of New South Wales in 1990 and a Master of Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London in 1995. . At the invitation of Max Delany, ACCA’s Artistic Director and curator Annika Kristenson, Claire was commissioned to make a new body of work, Mother Holding Something Horrific for ACCA’s 2017 Influential Australian Artists Series and her Recent exhibitions include Miss Universal (with Atlanta Eke), Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, 2015; Strangefellows (with Lisa Young) West Space, Melbourne, 2013; Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2013–14. In 2016 Lambe was awarded the Sir Edwards Trust residency in New York.

white collared

Public Description: 

The objects comprising the White Collared series are imagined artefacts informed by stories told by the artist’s family, community and documented in written histories. Harding’s work recalls the absolute power and control held over the lives of Aboriginal girls and women at Woorabinda and in many similar missions in other parts of Queensland and Australia. The collars resemble those worn by Aboriginal women and girls in the Taroom settlement west of Rockhampton. This work has particular resonance with Bundoora Homestead (being of the Queen Victorian style) and these works reference the ways Indigenous people were forced to wear collars with Victorian lace features. The lace features were thought to match the tenor and imagined propriety of the European houses that many women servants served in.

Dale Harding is a descendant of the Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal peoples of Central Queensland. He grew up in the Central Queensland town of Moranbah. Harding graduated with honours from a Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art at the Queensland College of Art. He has since gone to win over art critics and fans alike with his creative fusion of traditional craft forms and political and cultural themes. Harding has gained recognition for works that investigate the social and political realities experienced by members of his family, who lived under government control in Queensland around 1930.

High St (after Ruscha)

Public Description: 

Daniel Crooks’ virtuosic video-scapes have captivated audiences from across the world. In this latest work, commissioned by Bundoora Homestead Art Centre for the Darebin Art Collection, Crooks has documented his own neighbourhood in High Street, Preston, a daunting task that manifests in what the artist describes as 64 ‘worlds’ stitched together from the point where High Street intersects Dundas Street all the way up to Tyler Street. The title pays homage to American artist Edward Ruscha’s (1937-) photographic documentation of the infamous Sunset Boulevard in the city of Los Angeles. Ruscha described the city as ‘the ultimate card-board cut out town’. It is precisely the two-dimensional flatness presented in each page of Ruscha’s concertina books that is clearly referenced in Crooks’ new work.

Practising across a range of media including digital video, photography and installation, Daniel Crooks’ digital images stretch and distort reality while questioning our perception of it. A graduate of the Auckland Institute of Technology and the Victorian College of the Arts School of Film and Television, Crooks received an Australia Council Fellowship in 1997 to research motion control at RMIT. His reputation grew rapidly, with representation in important group exhibitions in Australia (including ‘Primavera 2003’ at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art) and in Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States and Asia. His work is held in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, ACMI, Melbourne, MONA, Tasmania.

The Right to Offend is Sacred (glow Red)

Public Description: 

Brook Andrew’s The Right to Offend is Sacred investigates political, cultural and social issues relating to people declaring they have the right to be bigots and express foolish/racist and clearly privileged points of view. The artwork enables a range of topics and dialogues to be explored relating to Indigenous culture, oppression and white privilege. The work is based on collages made during a residency the artist undertook in New York City in 2009. Brook Andrew’s The Right to Offend is Sacred extends upon the artist’s extensive print series Danger of Authority. The ostentatious background of the work is reminiscent of a wealthy home such as the Smith Family’s Bundoora Homestead. The text speaks of race relations – an issue that was explored in the recent exhibition ‘Re-visioning Histories’ at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.

Brook Andrew is of the Wiradjuri people of New South Wales. An artist of considerable practice, his work often confronts and challenges cultural and historical perceptions that question conventional readings of the world. His diverse practice challenges stereotypical notions of history, identity and race, without apportioning blame or guilt. His current research includes an ambitious international comparative three year Federal Government Australian Research Council grant titled ‘Representation, Remembrance and the Memorial’ – a project designed to respond to the ongoing call for a memorial to Aboriginal loss and the frontier wars.

Rock Pools, Ormiston Gorge

Public Description: 

John Borrack is a maverick, free thinker and master craftsman. Best known for his lyrically structured paintings, Borrack’s sensitive interpretation of the Australian landscape balances the needs of technique and theory with clarity of emotional expression.

While working predominantly in watercolour and gouache, over recent years, he has exhibited his oil paintings more frequently revealing an effortless ability to move from one medium to the other. Represented in numerous collections including National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, regional galleries, municipal councils, universities and leading corporate collections. Rock Pools, Ormiston Gorge was part of the exhibition "John Borrack: Selected Paintings and Drawings1970-2102" which exhibited at the Bundoora Homestead Arts Centre in 2012. The retrospective captured the haunting, evocative quality of Borrack’s work spanning the last four decades.