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JXSH MVIR: 'Forever I Live' installation now live at Koori Heritage Trust

Joseph Guenzler -

'JXSH MVIR: Forever I Live,' showcasing the extensive solo work of the late Josh Muir, who was born in 1991 and passed away in 2022, will be presented at the Koorie Heritage Trust from 9 March to 14 July, 2024.

A Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta, and Barkindji man, Muir was raised on Wadawurrung Country in Ballarat, Victoria.

Artist Josh Muir with one of his artworks. (Image: St Patricks College)

The exhibition title 'Forever I Live' derives from his artwork of the same name created in 2015, symbolising the enduring legacy embodied within his artistic creations.

Co-curated by Mr Muir's partner, Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung and Boon Wurrung woman Shanaya Sheridan, his mother Justine Berg, and the curatorial team at the Koori Heritage Trust (KHT), 'JXSH MVIR: Forever I Live' pays homage to his artistic journey.

Artworks by Josh Muir. (Image: Supplied)

Throughout his relatively brief yet remarkably productive career, Mr Muir crafted an extensive array of paintings and digital artworks distinguished by a distinctive contemporary iconography.

This unique visual language honed over the years, reflected Muir's embrace of digital techniques and drew inspiration from street art, pop aesthetics, and diverse design forms.

Despite his modern approach, Muir's creations remained deeply rooted in the timeless tradition of storytelling, an integral part of his cultural heritage as a Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta, and Barkindji man.

Artworks by Josh Muir. (Image: Supplied)

Mr Muir's artworks delve into a range of themes, encompassing cultural identity, the repercussions and enduring effects of colonisation, as well as intimate reflections on mental health struggles, addiction, loss, and grief.

Throughout his artistic journey, Muir often highlighted the pivotal role of art in his ongoing healing process.

His creations are distinguished by a lively mix of colour and geometric patterns across diverse mediums including paintings, digital prints on aluminium, neon installations, animated video pieces and augmented reality encounters.

Mr Muir's initial collaboration with KHT dates back to 2013 when he participated in the group exhibition "The Ballarat Four", alongside fellow First Peoples Ballarat-based artists Aunty Bronwyn Razem, Aunty Marlene Gilson and Deanne Gilson.

However, it was in 2014 that Mr Muir truly distinguished himself, clinching the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards People's Choice Award for his piece "Heaven's Gates" (2014).

That same year, he secured the Creative Victoria Excellence Award at Koorie Heritage Trust's 2nd Koorie Art Show for his artwork "The Throne" (2014), along with the Visual Art and Design prize at the Ballarat Youth Awards.

Artworks by Josh Muir. (Image: Supplied)

In 2015, Mr Muir received both the Youth and People's Choice Award at the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) for his artwork "Buninyong" (2015).

Continuing his trajectory in 2016, Mr Muir undertook a significant public art endeavour by creating an animated projection titled "Still Here" (2016) on the facade of the National Gallery of Victoria for White Night Melbourne 2016.

This compelling work narrates the journey of Victoria's First Peoples before and after colonisation, encapsulating Mr Muir's sentiment: "Life has changed, we have struggled, been treated badly... but we are still here – and growing stronger with each generation".

Artworks by Josh Muir. (Image: Supplied)

In 2017, Muir was among the eight artists chosen, representing the sole First Peoples artist for the Melbourne Art Trams project, reinstated as part of the 2017 Melbourne Festival program.

In 2018, Muir showcased his premier solo exhibition, "Josh X Muir," at the Koorie Heritage Trust.

Concurrently, he earned the Lendlease Reconciliation Award at the 6th Koorie Art Show held at KHT for his digital print on aluminum with neon piece titled "Journey to Liberty" (2018).

Moving into 2019, Mr Muir was granted the inaugural 'Going Solo: First Nations' exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery.

Titled "What's on your mind?" the exhibition featured an innovative eight-part installation crafted by Muir in collaboration with digital animator Isobel Knowles and experiential design consultancy Art Processors.

Josh Muir's profound artistic legacy continues to resonate as his vibrant and evocative creations serve as a testament to his enduring spirit and the resilience of Indigenous storytelling.

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