Now showing at the NGV's Ian Potter Centre is Maree Clarke: Ancestral Memories, the first major retrospective of Melbourne-based Yorta Yorta/Wamba Wamba/Mutti Mutti/Boonwurrung artist and designer Maree Clarke.
The exhibition, which runs until February 6 2022, shows more than three decades worth of work from Clarke that spans photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewellery, video and more. Clarke is the first living artist to exhibit at the NGV to have ancestral connections to the land the gallery is built on, and the artist is seen as something of a leader in the reclamation of Aboriginal art and cultural practices in the south-east of Australia.
Much of Clarke's practice is about this reclamation and affirmation of this heritage, as imagined through contemporary art. A stunning example of this is 'Ancestral Memory I & II', large eel traps blown from glass and suspended like solid water from the ceiling.
Another key work in the exhibition is a 60-pelt possum skin cloak specially commissioned by the NGV for the exhibition. Along with other First Nations artists Vicki Couzens, Lee Darroch and Treahna Hamm, Clarke has worked to revive this traditional skill, and their cloaks are the first to be made in Victoria for more than 150 years.
Guests will also be able to view Clarke's striking photography series 'Ritual and Ceremony', which saw her photograph prominent Aboriginal community figures such as Uncle Jack Charles and Caroline Martin.
Entry to Maree Clarke: Ancestral Memories is free.