Aboriginal Artist

Cognitive Dissonance #2

Public Description: 

Steaphan Paton found this traditional tapestry (maker unknown) and actively intervened in its aesthetic and meaning by stitching in his own hand. His interventions are striking; they seek to bring to life the realities of the impact of colonialism on the first nation's peoples and the fact there were battles between the original custodians of the land and white settlers. This work was acquired following its inclusion in the exhibition ‘Re-visioning Histories’, curated by Yhonnie Scarce and Claire Watson.

Steaphan Paton is a member of the Gunaikurnai and Monero Nations. His work explores colonialism, tradition and concepts of race and conflict. Influenced by his home country, Gippsland and his experiences, Paton uses painting, sculpture, installation and video to articulate his worldview. In 2016 Paton completed a Master of Contemporary Art from the VCA. His work is held in many public and private collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Gallery of Australia, the Melbourne Museum and the Brooklyn Art Library in New York.

The Blaktism

Public Description: 

The Blaktism is a satirical video work about the artist's experience obtaining her 'Certificate of Aboriginality' and the overwhelming sense of doubt experienced at the thought of being legitimately certified at 30 years of age. The video presents a baptism-like sacred ceremony whereby a young Quandamooka woman receives the rite to her authentic Aboriginality permitted by everyday Australians. This work translates issues of citizenship, power, prejudice and interrogates the issue of cultural authority in 21st century Australian political and cultural landscape.

Megan Cope is known for her paintings, video work, sculptural installations and site-specific commissions. A Quandamooka woman from North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, her work explores the intricate relationship between environment, geography and identity. Cope’s work has been exhibited in Australia and internationally including at Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art; Cairns Regional Art Gallery; Koori Heritage Trust, Melbourne; City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand; Careof Art Space, Milan; and the Australian Embassy, Washington. Cope most recently exhibited in ‘Unfinished Business: Perspectives on Art and Feminism’ at ACCA. Cope is a member of Aboriginal art collective proppaNOW.

Rabbit Progress

Public Description: 

In Rabbit Progress, Peter Waples-Crowe presents the ever multiplying rabbit as a symbol of European colonisation, and highlights the absurdity of the unintended consequences of the introduction of these extremely prolific creatures that was catastrophic for the natural environment. Recognised as a critical agricultural threat, a rabbit proof fence was constructed at the turn of the 20th century to keep Western Australian pastoral areas free of the devastation caused by crop damage and soil erosion. Later drastic biological measures, including the use of myxomatosis in the 1950s and Rabbit Haemorrhage Disease (RHD) in the 1990s, were used in a semi-successful attempt to control burgeoning rabbit numbers. The long lasting effects of the original folly are the constant dangers posed by the wild rabbit population to Australia’s ecology. In contrast, the didgeridoo player featured in the artwork represents traditional Aboriginal culture in harmony with the land.

Peter Waples-Crowe is a descendent of the Wiradjuri and Ngarigo nations. He is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice examines identity, race and culture. His primary interests are the exploration of Indigeneity, dislocation, globalisation, popular culture and subculture. Using various techniques such as cut and paste appropriations and mixed media applications, his work is influenced variously by politics, sexuality, adoption, traditional Indigenous cultures, street art and humour.. Waples-Crowe has twice won the Victorian Indigenous Art award for works on paper (2013 & 2014).

Rabbit Progress © Peter Waples-Crowe

Taungerong Country; View of Yea

Public Description: 

In Taurgurong Country; View of Yea, Gwen Garoni (1933-2014) celebrates the landscape of her Taurgurong country, offering a personal perspective and artistic vision formed by an intimate knowledge and deep connection to the land. The vibrant hues of the distant mountains and the lushness of the uncleared land reveal a spiritual beauty that speaks of a time long before colonial settlement.

Aunty Gwen Garoni was a respected Victorian Koori Elder and a descendant of the Taungurong people of north-east Victoria. Her work reflects upon the significance of place, family connections and cultural identity. Her art is grounded in her love of country and explores the Australian landscape, ancestral memories and early colonial history.

Garoni was a winner of the DATSICC emerging artist award for the Gumbri White Dove Acquisitive Prize (2006 and 2010), a finalist in the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards (2006 and 2007) and a finalist in the ANL Maritime Art Prize (2009 and 2011). Her artwork is held in public and private collections.

Taurgurong Country; View of Yea © Gwen Garoni