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First Nations artists set to feature in Melbourne University's week-long visual art grad show

Joseph Guenzler -

Melbourne University's Visual Art Grad Show, featuring works from numerous First Nations artists, is set to open on Friday.

Hosted at the Southbank Campus, the Show features artworks from 140 graduating students, spanning Undergraduate, Honours, and Master's courses.

The event, which features a showcase of new and emerging art talent, stands as one of Melbourne's annual cultural highlights.

Boonwurrung and Erub artist Amina Briggs' (Master of Contemporary Art) mural is presented as a child's drawing to invite viewers into the world of the blue person.

"It's stylised in a childlike, simplistic art form to reflect the immaturity and lack of intelligence of the blue person," she said.

"The blue person portrayed is selfish and entitled, inflicting violence through their words, actions, ignorance, and harmful views.

Amina Briggs' mural 'The Blue Person' (Image: supplied, Melbourne University)

"This individual is typically racist, homophobic, and sexist."

The juxtaposition of mural paint and physical objects serves to reflect the contrast between the status quo and change.

This contrast symbolises the struggle to eliminate or conceal deep-rooted issues such as colonialism and patriarchy in Australia.

By representing the blue person through paint on the wall, the mural underscores how their presence is more enduring compared to real objects that can be easily removed.

Even when removing the paint, the image remains, symbolising the lasting effects of colonialism and patriarchy deeply ingrained in Australia.

In her own words, Bella Howison says "my practice traverses the landscape of memory and how land is remembered over time. I engage in unconventional ways of mapping land to navigate the threshold between memory and materiality".

"Working with various forms of mark-making, I whittle down a memory to an essential surface through the use of site-specific materials, abstraction, and static fluids," she said.

Bella Howison's artwork comprised of a number of unique styles and materials. (Image: supplied, Melbourne University)

"I employ an intuitive, gestural process that allows me to draw parallels between working and reworking, and remembering and re-remembering.

"These techniques result in an accumulation of composite landscapes and mappings of memory."

This showcase applauds the creative prowess of students in photography, sculpture, painting, drawing, and printmaking, including those in honours, masters of contemporary art, and masters of fine art.

The Visual Art Grad Show unfolds across various venues, encompassing the Art Studios, VCA Artspace, Fiona and Sidney Myer Gallery, the Stables, and the Martyn Myer Arena.

The exhibition's opening, featuring the Welcome to Country, opening address and award announcements, is scheduled on Thursday from 5pm to 8:30pm.

The exhibition runs from November 24 to 30.

Tickets are available here.


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