From Where I Stand: Representing land, culture and politics in Victoria

04 July, 2014

From Where I Stand banner
From Where I Stand banner
Image: MV
Source: Museum Victoria

“One Mob, One Voice, One Land”: words from famed Koorie artist Lin Onus that continue to resonate today.

A new Group Exhibition at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum titled From Where I Stand: Place, Culture and Politics seeks to share stories through the work of 17 Australian artists, all First Peoples of this country, that now call Victoria home.

Kimberley Moulton, exhibition curator, says the works contribute to a dialogue of contemporary Aboriginal vision; the landscape and the city; identity and Australia’s colonial history; and the political discourse that makes up the Victorian Aboriginal diaspora. Featuring both established and emerging artists, the exhibition opens as part of NAIDOC Week celebrations at Melbourne Museum on July 11.

Moulton says the exhibition theme came from reading Onus’ words and thinking about the diverse community in Victoria. “The theme leads to thinking about our voice as a community, our strengths and where we stand on our identity and culture,” she said. “Our place, culture and politics are all intrinsically linked and the contributing artists express these themes through diverse media and styles. The exhibition also reveals how contemporary artists are challenging long-standing perceptions of what Aboriginal art is.”

Josh Muir of the Gunditjmara/Yorta Yorta people is an emerging artist. Based in his home city of Ballarat said he was thrilled to be part of the exhibition. Muir has two pieces on display, including a sombre view of Melbourne from across Port Phillip Bay. “Summer Time Sadness highlights the distance Aboriginal people can feel, even in the city. These buildings have been built on Aboriginal land and there’s a sadness that hangs over them.”

Muir’s second piece, See No Evil, urges his community to “ignore the evil” of the many negative substances and outlets seen in Australia’s culture at the moment. “Stay focused – don’t fall for those traps,” he said.

At the other end of the experience scale, Megan Cope has been producing and exhibiting unique mixed media pieces for eight years. A member of the Quandamooka People, but based in Melbourne for the last few years, she says her home of Stradbroke Island still inspires much of her work. “My country is a small island, surrounded by water. So water is a significant feature in what I create,” she says.

Politics, and questions of Aboriginal identity, are also dominant themes – particularly in After The Flood (Yalukit Willam) and After The Flood (Boon Wurrung), the two pieces on display in From Where I Stand. “I am really committed to the community and our culture; and also challenging the ideas of contemporary Aboriginality,” Cope adds.

Caroline Martin, Manager of Bunjilaka says: “We are proud to present From Where I Stand, Place, Culture, Politics which honours the strength of Victorian Koorie artists while celebrating the dynamic artistic landscape of Aboriginal Victoria.”

The exhibition will be on display until October 26.

17 artists on display

From Where I Stand; Place, Culture and Politics features works from both established and emerging artists – all First Peoples of Australia who now call Victoria home




Paola Balla

Photographic prints

Wemba Wemba / Gunditjmara

Peter Waples-Crowe

Mixed media on paper

Koorie (southern New South Wales)

Megan Cope

Mixed media on canvas

Qandamooka (Queensland)

Ben McKeown

Acrylic on canvas

Wirangu (South Australia)

Josh Muir

Digital print on canvas

Yorta Yorta / Gunditjmara

Steaphan Paton

Video installation


Brian McKinnon

Acrylic on canvas

Yamatji / Wongai (Western Australia)

Ray Thomas

Acrylic on canvas

Brabrawooloong Gunnai

Eileen Harrison

Acrylic on canvas

Gunai / Kurnai

Lisa Kennedy

Acrylic on canvas

Tra-wool-way (Tasmania)

Kevin Williams

Acrylic on French linen

Waradjuri (New South Wales)

Patsy Smith

Photographic prints


Eric Brown

Acrylic on canvas

Kamilaroi (Queensland)

Steven Rhall

Photographic prints


Lisa Waup

Work on paper


Patrice Muthaymiles Mahoney

Acrylic and ochre on paper

Kamilaroi, Anewan and Dunghatti

Daniel Kelly

Arcrylic on paper