Seen and Unseen explores and extends on the work of trailblazing Koorie artists practising in the 1990s and their ongoing influence. Using the 1993 National Gallery of Victoria exhibition Can’t See for Lookin – Koorie Women Artists Educating, Seen and Unseen reflects on the impact of these artists and how their voices have influenced Koorie artists today. Conceived by respected artist and designer Maree Clarke (Yorta Yorta, Wamba Wamba, Mutti Mutti, Boonwurrung) and her late brother Peter Clarke, Can’t See for Lookin brought together 12 women artists living in Victoria and reflected the collaborative, cross-cultural working relationships that could enable South East Australian First Nation’s histories to reach a broad and diverse audience.
While Can’t See for Lookin emphasised the significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women artists maintaining stories and art practices of cultural significance throughout Victoria, Seen and Unseen is about celebrating the artistic practices of Victorian First Nations artists today reflecting strength, resilience and originality of their cultural expressions and voice.
Seen and Unseen features works from the KHT’s collection including artworks/artists that were collected by the KHT from the Can’t See for Lookin exhibition, as well as loans, archival material and oral history recordings.
Featured artists: Maree Clarke; the late Ellen Jose; Aunty Rachel Mullett; the late Aunty Connie Alberts Hart; Lisa Kennedy; Donna Leslie; Dr Treahna Hamm; Karen Casey; Sonja Hodge; Gayle Maddigan; the late Lin Onus; Ray Thomas; Lyn Thorpe; the late Les Griggs; Vicki Couzens; the late Len Tregonning; James Henry; Kent Morris; Sandra Aitken.
In 1993, a ground breaking exhibition took place in Melbourne Victoria.
Can’t See for Lookin forged insights into both the diverse backgrounds of First Nations artists living in Victoria and the different ways that art expressed connections to culture and identity– Dr Fran Edmonds, “‘All Art is Political’: Can’t See for Lookin and the Climate of Change” in exhibition catalogue, Seen & Unseen – Expressions of Koorie Identity, Koorie Heritage Trust, 2021.
This film is produced by the Koorie Heritage Trust as part of its Oral History Program for inclusion in Seen & Unseen – Expressions of Koorie Identity. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised the the film contains the names, words and images of people who have passed away.
The Koorie Heritage Trust acknowledges the generous support of the Oral History Program by Viva Energy Australia and Aboriginal Victoria.
Installation view of Seen and Unseen: Expressions of Koorie Identity at the Koorie Heritage Trust.
Photo credit: Christian Capurro.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of our exhibition partners
We also acknowledge the generous support of the Women’s Art Register
As part of the exhibition, we are proud to present a short documentary film Seen and Unseen – Expressions of Koorie Identity featuring First Nations artists who were shown in the 1993 National Gallery of Victoria Can’t See for Lookin exhibition. This film was produced as part of the KHT’s Oral History Program. We acknowledge the generous support of our Oral History Program partners:
Rachel MULLETT (Monero) Metung c. 1990 acrylic on canvas Collection of Koorie Heritage Trust