Aunty Marlene Gilson (Wathaurung) (Wadawurrung)

Marlene Gilson’s multi-figure paintings work to overturn the colonial grasp on the past by reclaiming and re-contextualising the representation of historical events. Learning her Wathaurung history from her grandmother, Gilson began painting while recovering from an illness. The artist’s meticulously rendered works display a narrative richness and theatrical quality akin to the traditional genre of history painting. Gilson, however, privileges those stories relating to her ancestral land, which covers Ballarat, Werribee, Geelong, Skipton and the Otway Ranges in Victoria. Often including her two totems, Bunjil the Eagle and Waa the Crow, Gilson’s paintings not only reconfigure historical narratives, but display her spiritual connection to country.