Off The Wall – Celebrating First Peoples’ Mark Making speaks of three artists’ connection to family, culture and Country through mark making. Each artist have been provided with a 1.5 x 10m roll of archival paper as the medium for exploring and extending their practice while continuing cross generational practices of traditional and contemporary mark making.
Mandi BARTON (Yorta Yorta, Barapa Barapa, Wemba Wemba). Born in Sydney and growing up in Footscray, Mandi is a mother of three daughters, an Aboriginal community member, an artist, and an entrepreneur who still resides in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. Mandi’s identity and her story are the foundations in which she interprets knowledge and visualises and produces creative works. Mandi’s art aspires to strengthen identity and cultural knowledge, opportunities for storytelling, connecting communities, illustrating concepts and relationships.
Charlie MILLER (Kanolu). Charlie was born and raised on Wurundjeri Country as a proud Aboriginal man. He was raised in not only a Blak household but a Deaf one. His father taught him the importance of pride, and its existence despite prejudice. In Off The Wall, Charlie explores his growing identity as a Kanolu and Gangulu man and visually presents what makes him a Blak man. He aims to shed light on the insecurities, emotions and struggles he has faced regarding his own Indigeneity, as well as those faced by those generations displaced from Country, culture, and language.
Simone THOMSON (Woi-Wurrung, Yorta Yorta). Simone Thomson is a Melbourne based fine artist, muralist and creative and is a descendant of Victoria’s Woi-Wurrung and Yorta-Yorta language groups through her mother. She draws inspiration for her art through her spiritual connection to country and the rich colours and textures of the earth and sky, the source of many Aboriginal dreaming stories. Simone attributes much of her cultural education to her early years in which she performed traditional song and dance in cultural dance troupes along with Worawa Aboriginal College. It is here she started painting, later becoming the school’s first graduating student. She would go on to continue this sacred art of storytelling well into her adult years remaining strongly connected to her culture through the ancestral knowledge and oral history as passed down through her mother and grandmother.
We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of our Exhibition Partners: Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne, Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support Program and the Australia Council for the Arts.
Mandi Barton (Yorta Yorta, Barapa Barapa, Wemba Wemba), "Burnt Words" (detail) 2022. Paper, charcoal, ink, burnt paper. Collection of the artist. Image: Christian Capurro.