Maree Clarke's Ritual and Ceremony

Maree Clarke's Ritual and Ceremony reflects on the Melbourne-based artist and designer's first major retrospective Maree Clarke: Ancestral Memories at the NGV.

A photograph of Maree Clarke in mourning dress. Maree Clarke is an aboriginal woman with dark skin and grey hair. She has white paint around her eyes and wears a black dress. She is set against a black background, and her dress blends into the background
Maree Clarke: Ancestral Memories is the first major retrospective of Melbourne-based artist and designer, Maree Clarke, who is a Yorta Yorta / Wamba Wamba / Mutti Mutti / Boonwurrung woman.

Maree Clarke is a pivotal figure in the reclamation of south-east Australian Aboriginal art and cultural practices and has a passion for reviving and sharing elements of Aboriginal culture that were lost – or lying dormant – as a consequence of colonisation.

Covering more than three decades of artistic output, the exhibition traverses Clarke’s multidisciplinary practice across photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewellery, video, glass, and more. Documenting Clarke’s life as told through her art, the exhibition includes rarely-seen black-and-white photographs that bring to life key figures and events in Melbourne during the 1990s, through to her most accomplished and critically-acclaimed work of recent years, including major mixed media installations, contemporary jewellery incorporating kangaroo-teeth, river reed and echidna quills, through to lenticular prints and photographic holograms.

Reflecting Clarke’s continuing desire to affirm and reconnect with her cultural heritage, the exhibition will display her contemporary artworks alongside key loans of historical material from Museum Victoria, highlighting her deep engagement with and reverence for the customary ceremonies, rituals, objects and language of her ancestors.

Watch the video above to listen to Maree Clarke reflects on preparing the exhibition. 

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