Wominjeka: A New Beginning

19/09/2015 - 28/05/2017

  • Wominjeka: A New Beginning, Installation view, Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne
    Various artists Wominjeka: A New Beginning, Installation view, Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne , 2015
    Image Credit
    Photography by James Henry

About the exhibition

30 Years of the Koorie Heritage Trust

Wominjeka: A New Beginning traces cultural continuities and explores new modes of creative practice in South Eastern Aboriginal art and cultures.

Featuring a diverse array of materials and techniques including painting, animal skin cloaks and textiles, bark and feather flowers, clay shields and digital prints this landmark exhibition brings together specially commissioned work by five cross-generational early career artists; Georgia MacGuire, Aunty Marlene Gilson, Mitch Mahoney, Josh Muir and Raymond Young. As part of this project each participating artist has been mentored by a senior artist including Maree Clarke, Lee Darroch, Ray Thomas and Peter Waples-Crowe, to explore the Koorie Heritage Trust’s significant Collections and to develop new work in dialogue with the past.

Wominjeka: A New Beginning was originally produced to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Koorie Heritage Trust and to launch the Trust’s new high profile premises at Federation Square in Melbourne.


Maree Clarke (Mutti MuttiWemba Wemba/Yorta Yorta)

Maree Clarke is a Mutti MuttiWemba Wemba and Yorta Yorta woman from Victoria who works as a multi-disciplinary artist and curator of Aboriginal art. Her recent solo exhibitions include: Ritual & CeremonyBunjilaka Gallery, Melbourne Museum, 2011 and Connected to Country KOPI Installation, Mildura, 2011. Clarke has participated in a number of group exhibitions including: Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2013; First Peoples, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum; New Iconic, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, 2013; The Women’s Show, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, 2013; Traditional and Contemporary Jewellery & Objects, G3 Gallery, Melbourne, 2013; Ritual & Ceremony – KOPI Exhibition, Havana, Cuba, 2012; Saying No, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, Brooklyn NY, USA, 2011. Her work is held in a number of public collections including: Museum Victoria, Melbourne, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, Monash University Art Collection, Prato Campus, Tuscany, Italy, Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne, Stonnington Council, Melbourne, Mildura Art Centre Collection, Mildura.

Peter Waples-Crow

Peter Waples-Crow is a visual and performance artist whose work focuses on the intersection of identity, race and culture as well as exploring dislocation, globalisation, popular culture, sub-cultures and Indigeneity. Recent exhibitions include: Victorian Indigenous Art Awards Finalists show, Art Gallery of Ballarat, 2014; Outlaws (as the Treaters), Visual and performance, Linden Contemporary Art, St Kilda, Melbourne, 2014; Queerum: the 24hr experience, performance, Carlton, 2014; From Where I Stand: Place, Culture, Politics, Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum, 2014; Public Posters in Various Bus Shelters in Monash City Council, 2014; Handprints, AIDS2014 global Village, Melbourne, 2014; Horizons, Bundoora Homestead Art Gallery, Melbourne, 2014; Healing ways: Art with Intent, The Dax Centre, The University of Melbourne, 2014. Waples-Crows works are held in the permanent collection of the Manningham City Council (Melbourne), City of Darebin (Victoria), Koorie Heritage Trust, University of Wollongong and private collections in Australia, Canada, United States of America and England.

Ray Thomas (Gunnai)

Born in 1960, Ray Thomas is a Melbourne based artist who began painting in the 1980s when he contributed to a number of Aboriginal Advancement League murals in Melbourne. In 2002 he was commissioned to create a kangaroo design for a silver dollar produced by the Royal Australian Mint. His paintings are inspired by Gunnai stories and designs and his sense of affinity and connection with Gippsland country (in eastern Victoria). Thomas also responds to contemporary political issues of relevance to Aboriginal people. Exhibitions have included: Power of the Land: Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National Gallery of Victoria, 1994; Native Title Business, which was toured nationally by the Regional Galleries Association of Queensland, 2002-2005; and the solo exhibition Secret-Sacred Country, 2002, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.

Lee Darroch (Yorta/Yorta)

Born 1957, Melbourne, Lee Darroch is a Yorta Yorta woman from Dhungula (Murray River). She practices across a wide variety of art media including possum skin cloak making, jewellery making and painting. Darroch was a contributing artist for Wrapped in a Possum Skin Cloak at the National Museum of Australia. She has been involved in a number of projects and exhibitions including: Place Made: Australian Print Workshop, National Gallery of Australia, 2004; finalist in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, 2001 and 2002; finalist in the National Indigenous Heritage Art Award, Old Parliament House, Canberra, where she received a Highly Commended citation, 2000; participating in Djiriyay (War Cry) Aboriginal Art Expo, Homebush Bay during the Sydney Olympic Games, 2000. In 2008 she was chosen as one of the Australian delegates for the Festival of Pacific Arts in American Samoa. Darroch has work in the public collections of the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the offices of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, the Koorie Heritage Trust, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Centre at Melbourne Museum, Flinders University Art Museum in Adelaide, and Melbourne Grammar School.

About the artists

Aunty Marlene Gilson (Wathaurung) (Wadawurrung) is a self-taught artist, who discovered painting later in life. Gilson’s work explores the links to her ancestors by depicting historical events, Aboriginal Myths and Dreamtime stories.  Her work concentrates on her ancestral land which includes Ballarat, Werribee, Geelong, Skipton and the Otway Ranges. In 2014 Aunty Marlene received the Koorie Heritage Trust Reconciliation Award and was a shortlisted finalist in The Victorian Indigenous Art Awards. Gilson has a forthcoming solo exhibition at Museum of Australian Democracy (MADE), Ballarat, Eureka Stockade, September – November 2015. Recent exhibitions include; Contain Art, MADE, Ballarat, 2014; Past Present & Future, Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum, 2014; The Ballarat Four, Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne, 2013; Mother & Daughter (Ngardang bap Yarrang), Art Gallery of Ballarat, 2012. Aunty Marlene Gilson’s work is held in private and public collections in Australia and overseas including the Australian Catholic University Art Collection and the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

Dorothy Lovett (Gunditjmara)

Georgia MacGuire (Wurundjeri) is a contemporary Indigenous artist based in the Central Goldfields, Victoria. She has been a practicing artist since 2000 and completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts) from Deakin University, Melbourne in 2004. Since completing her studies, Macguire relocated to a rural environment in the Central Goldfields.  She is drawn to materials that reconnect her to traditional craft practices. Her work has been selected for a number of awards and scholarships and she has recently received the CAL Victorian Indigenous Art Award for three dimensional works and the People’s Choice prize. Recent exhibitions include; Both Sides of the Street, Counihan Gallery, Brunswick, 2015; The F Word, Ararat Regional Art Gallery, Ararat, 2014; Ill Fitted, Forty Five Downstairs, Melbourne, 2014;Small Treasures, Big Ideas, Central Goldfields Art Gallery, Maryborough. Georgia MacGuire's work is held in public collections including City of Melbourne and Ararat Regional Art Gallery.

Glenda Nicholls (Wadi Wadi/Ngarrindgeri/Yorta Yorta)

Joshua Muir (Yorta Yorta/Gunditjmara) lives and works in Ballarat.  Muir uses a diverse range of different mediums in his creative practice, working across painting and digital media. In 2014 he received The People’s Choice Award – Victorian Indigenous Art Awards and the Arts Victoria Excellence Award – Koorie Art Show. Muir has been commissioned to work on a number of high profile creative projects, including; the Foundation for Young Australians – Innovation Nation, 2015;Eureka 160th Anniversary, City of Ballarat, 2014; MCG Mural, Richmond Football Club, 2014; CAAMA short animation film and mural design, Northern Territory, 2014.  Recently Muir’s work has featured in exhibitions, festivals and projects including; Melbourne Fashion Festival in 2015; From where I stand, Bunjilaka Melbourne Museum, 2014; Beyond the Surface, Incinerator Gallery, Melbourne, 2014; Multiplicity, Reconciliation Week, Manningham Art Gallery, Doncaster, 2014; We R You Project, Ballarat, 2014; Victorian Indigenous Art Awards, Art Gallery of Ballarat, 2013; Don’t Spit the Dummy, Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne, 2013 (solo show); a solo display in the projection window of the Art Gallery of Ballarat and Koories in the Hood, Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne, 2010.  Joshua Muir’s work is held in both private and public collections including; St. John of God Hospital, Ballarat; University of Ballarat and Ballarat Base Hospital.

Kelly Koumalatsos (Wergaia/Wamba Wamba)

Mandy Nicholson (Wurundjeri)

Mitch Mahoney (Boon Wurrung) was born in the north west of Victoria, and lives and works in Duns Creek NSW.  In 2015 Mahoney received the National Gallery of Australia Summer School Scholarship, which is awarded to 16 year 11 students from across Australia, two students from each state. His recent exhibitions include participating in the 3 Village Art Trail, Hunter Valley, and at the Hunter Valley Gallery in 2014. Mahoney has been commissioned to create a number of works including; possum skin pelts for the Melbourne Museum and he produced work forLife without Barriers for the National Cultural Respect Steering Committee in 2014 and worked with local elders to produce a possum skin cloak for the Wingecarribee Shire Council. Mitch Mahoney’s work is held in the public collections of Melbourne Museum and the Koorie Heritage Trust.

Raymond Young (Gunnai/Gunditjmara/Yorta Yorta) was born 1966, Melbourne, lives and works in Doncaster East, Victoria. Young discovered his gift as an artist through the Statewide Indigenous Arts in Prisons and Community Pilot Program. During this time he was given access to Gunnai shield designs that inspired him to create innovative ceramic forms that connected him with his culture. Young continues to create works that express his connection to his culture using the designs, shapes and markings of his ancestors, creating contemporary interpretations of these traditional designs. Raymond’s Young’s artwork was included in Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, 2014. His work is held in the National Gallery of Victoria Collection.

Tommy McRae (Kwat Kwat)

Treahna Hamm (Yorta Yorta)

Touring Venues
and Dates


A NETS Victoria and Koorie Heritage Trust touring exhibition