Wominjeka: A New Beginning—

Artists: Aunty Marlene Gilson (Wathaurung) (Wadawurrung) Dorothy Lovett [Gunditjmara] Georgia MacGuire (Wurundjeri) Glenda Nicholls [Wadi Wadi/Ngarrindgeri/Yorta Yorta] Joshua Muir (Yorta Yorta/Gunditjmara) Kelly Koumalatsos [Wergaia/Wamba Wamba] Mandy Nicholson [Wurundjeri] Mitch Mahoney (Boon Wurrung) Raymond Young (Gunnai/Gunditjmara/Yorta Yorta) Tommy McRae [Kwat Kwat] Treahna Hamm [Yorta Yorta]

Wominjeka: A New Beginning traces cultural continuities and explores new modes of creative practice in South Eastern Aboriginal art and cultures.

Featuring a diverse array of materials and techniques including painting, animal skin cloaks and textiles, bark and feather flowers, clay shields and digital prints this landmark exhibition brings together specially commissioned work by five cross-generational early career artists; Georgia MacGuire, Aunty Marlene Gilson, Mitch Mahoney, Josh Muir and Raymond Young. As part of this project each participating artist has been mentored by a senior artist including Maree Clarke, Lee Darroch, Ray Thomas and Peter Waples-Crowe, to explore the Koorie Heritage Trust’s significant Collections and to develop new work in dialogue with the past.

Wominjeka: A New Beginning was originally produced to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Koorie Heritage Trust and to launch the Trust’s new high profile premises at Federation Square in Melbourne.


Maree Clarke (Mutti Mutti, Wemba Wemba/Yorta Yorta)

Maree Clarke is a Mutti Mutti, Wemba Wemba and Yorta Yorta woman from Victoria who works as a multi-disciplinary artist and curator of Aboriginal art. Her recent solo exhibitions include: Ritual & Ceremony, Bunjilaka Gallery, Melbourne Museum, 2011 and Connected to Country KOPI Installation, Mildura, 2011. Clarke has participated in a number of group exhibitions including: Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2013; First Peoples, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum; New Iconic, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, 2013; The Women’s Show, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, 2013; Traditional and Contemporary Jewellery & Objects, G3 Gallery, Melbourne, 2013; Ritual & Ceremony – KOPI Exhibition, Havana, Cuba, 2012; Saying No, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, Brooklyn NY, USA, 2011. Her work is held in a number of public collections including: Museum Victoria, Melbourne, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, Monash University Art Collection, Prato Campus, Tuscany, Italy, Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne, Stonnington Council, Melbourne, Mildura Art Centre Collection, Mildura.

Peter Waples-Crow

Peter Waples-Crow is a visual and performance artist whose work focuses on the intersection of identity, race and culture as well as exploring dislocation, globalisation, popular culture, sub-cultures and Indigeneity. Recent exhibitions include: Victorian Indigenous Art Awards Finalists show, Art Gallery of Ballarat, 2014; Outlaws (as the Treaters), Visual and performance, Linden Contemporary Art, St Kilda, Melbourne, 2014; Queerum: the 24hr experience, performance, Carlton, 2014; From Where I Stand: Place, Culture, Politics, Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum, 2014; Public Posters in Various Bus Shelters in Monash City Council, 2014; Handprints, AIDS2014 global Village, Melbourne, 2014; Horizons, Bundoora Homestead Art Gallery, Melbourne, 2014; Healing ways: Art with Intent, The Dax Centre, The University of Melbourne, 2014. Waples-Crows works are held in the permanent collection of the Manningham City Council (Melbourne), City of Darebin (Victoria), Koorie Heritage Trust, University of Wollongong and private collections in Australia, Canada, United States of America and England.

Ray Thomas (Gunnai)

Born in 1960, Ray Thomas is a Melbourne based artist who began painting in the 1980s when he contributed to a number of Aboriginal Advancement League murals in Melbourne. In 2002 he was commissioned to create a kangaroo design for a silver dollar produced by the Royal Australian Mint. His paintings are inspired by Gunnai stories and designs and his sense of affinity and connection with Gippsland country (in eastern Victoria). Thomas also responds to contemporary political issues of relevance to Aboriginal people. Exhibitions have included: Power of the Land: Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National Gallery of Victoria, 1994; Native Title Business, which was toured nationally by the Regional Galleries Association of Queensland, 2002-2005; and the solo exhibition Secret-Sacred Country, 2002, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.

Lee Darroch (Yorta/Yorta)

Born 1957, Melbourne, Lee Darroch is a Yorta Yorta woman from Dhungula (Murray River). She practices across a wide variety of art media including possum skin cloak making, jewellery making and painting. Darroch was a contributing artist for Wrapped in a Possum Skin Cloak at the National Museum of Australia. She has been involved in a number of projects and exhibitions including: Place Made: Australian Print Workshop, National Gallery of Australia, 2004; finalist in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, 2001 and 2002; finalist in the National Indigenous Heritage Art Award, Old Parliament House, Canberra, where she received a Highly Commended citation, 2000; participating in Djiriyay (War Cry) Aboriginal Art Expo, Homebush Bay during the Sydney Olympic Games, 2000. In 2008 she was chosen as one of the Australian delegates for the Festival of Pacific Arts in American Samoa. Darroch has work in the public collections of the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the offices of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, the Koorie Heritage Trust, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Centre at Melbourne Museum, Flinders University Art Museum in Adelaide, and Melbourne Grammar School.

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