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Arrernte woman shaping perspectives in contemporary Aboriginal art

Joseph Guenzler -

Central and Eastern Arrernte woman Georgia Anne recently won The Koori Heritage Trust Encouragement Award at the prestigious Koori Art Show 2023.

Ms Anne is graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Graduate Certificate in Visual Arts at the University of Melbourne and has been accepted into the VCA Master of Contemporary Art degree to commence in 2024.

She crafts detailed acrylic paintings and large woven sculptures, influenced by the Central Desert's colors.

Blurring art and craft, traditional and contemporary Aboriginal art, her pieces prompt viewers to rethink notions of identity, Aboriginality, and the place of Aboriginal art in today's art scene.

Coming from a political background, she was actively involved in activism within a working party.

Until the previous year, she played a pivotal role in collaboration with the People's Assembly, dedicating efforts to treaty initiatives and contributing to the formation of the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission alongside a compact team.

It's only in the past year that Georgia Anne has shifted towards an institutional approach to art.

"It's always been something that I've done as kind of a meditative practice or something that I've done with community," she said.

"So I've only really been in the space for about a year doing The Graduate certificate at VCA."

"I decided that I'd like with my political beliefs and that kind of activism into my art, which is why I went to study at VCA."

Georgia Anne's Desert Series 1. (Image: Supplied)

Expressing a desire to contribute to a broader national dialogue on Aboriginal art, her focus lies confront biases surrounding Aboriginal art.

Ms Anne notes that non-Aboriginal artists, particularly Western artists, are often assessed based on the artistic merits of their work, such as color theory, composition, and techniques.

Whereas Aboriginal art is predominantly evaluated through the lens of the story, connection to culture, community, and country, transcending the traditional criteria applied to Western art.

"I wanted to do further study and get into masters and research because I want to be part of, I guess, a bit more of a national conversation around what Aboriginal art is," Ms Anne added.

"I'm really interested in kind of forcing people to confront biases around like what Aboriginal art is."

"I find that a lot of non-Aboriginal artists, in particular Western artists, are judged on the merit of their work, you know, color theory, composition and techniques and Aboriginal art is really judged on story behind that connection to culture, community and country, behind the artist."

In 2024, Ms Anne is poised for a series of compelling exhibitions. Notable among them is the "Koorie Art Show," featuring her piece "Desert Series #4," displayed at the 11th Annual Koorie Art Show in Koorie Heritage Trust from December 9, 2023, to February 25, 2024.

Additionally, her work will be showcased at "Yeah But Is It Art?" at Honey Bones Gallery in Brunswick, scheduled for mid-2024.

Another exhibition, "The River Simply Flows," will captivate audiences from February 1 to April 27, 2025.

Each exhibition provides a unique opportunity to experience Ms. Anne's artistic expression and perspective.

More information about Ms Anne's work and upcoming shows can be found on online.


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