Young Indigenous artist Josh Muir came to Victoria University recently to take part in the annual Artists Talk organised by VU librarians Ralph Kiel and Adrian Gallagher.
VU have acquired two pieces printed on metal by the 25 year-old artist called The Oxymoron. They're a bold, vibrant digital print inspired by a projection Josh created, which was projected onto the exterior of the National Gallery of Victoria, as part of last year’s White Night.
A smaller piece named Dispute is one of a series that depicts William Buckley. The convict was transported to Australia in the 1800s, escaped from a settlement in Port Phillip Bay and lived with the Wathaurong people for 32 years.
“Buckley’s story was handed to me by an Historian in Ballarat. Buckley was sort of a middle guy between Indigenous and European people – (the painting) is how we’re sort of in between”, said Josh.
Ralph, who is one of several staff members on an Advisory Committee, said that VU was drawn to the power of Josh’s work and felt strongly that staff and students would find both pieces engaging. “You can have a beautiful piece of art on the wall, but if it’s not striking, people barely notice it.”
In the conversation with MARS Gallery Director Andi Dinan, Josh, A Yorta Yorta/ Gunditjmara man from Ballarat, spoke frankly about his struggle with depression and anxiety and how his art practice remains a positive influence.
“Art has helped me through my anxiety and depression. It’s helped me engage with community and taught me how to express myself”, said Josh.
Currently a student at the Victorian College of the Arts, Josh is looking forward to exploring other mediums, including painting on canvas, sculpture, animation, poetry and music.
Right now, Josh is working a new series based on the last twelve months of his life. “It’s about moving from the country to the city. It’s also about heavy grieving and some sorry business we had at the beginning of the year and how I’ve been able to overcome all of that.”