On Friday 28th October 2022 at 9.15am Mirree was interviewed by Madeline Buckley from 2SER Sydney RADIO Station about Aboriginal arts and culture. We documented the content of the interview below or you can listen to the interview here.
What was the inspiration for blending Dreaming and Contemporary art?
The Dreaming is difficult for non-Indigenous people to understand.
The Dreaming is used to describe the Aboriginal creative stage.
Thanks to the Muswellbrook City Council website and in relation to reconciliation which brings understanding of Aboriginal people to light in Australia their website really helps us describe the Dreaming below..
The Dreaming does not assume the creation of the world from nothing.
It assumes a preexistent substance, often described as a watery expanse or a featureless plain. From this substance spirit beings emerged and formed creatures often made up of various humans, plants and animals. These creatures roamed the land, doing this they created what is now the land, e.g. “the winding track of a serpent became a watercourse”.
The entire Australian continent is dotted with sites that are sacred to different Aboriginal groups, this is because these spirit creatures are thought to have created and formed these sites with their actions in the Dreaming.
You can read more about the idea of the Dreaming on this link - The Dreaming
The very idea of the Dreaming sits inside the field of Contemporary Aboriginal Art as a style and a way to express these ideals. Here is one way you can look at Mirree’s style and aesthetics reflected on the background of her cultural heritage which is made up of the European side from her mother’s family and Aboriginal from her fathers side. Mirree is the palest one in her family with everyone else having varying degrees of tanned coloured skin.
Some people may say Contemporary style would be more prominent but when culture is involved it becomes Contemporary Aboriginal style.
Traditionally Aboriginal Art was handed down through the family, this still continues today in some parts of Australia. Increasingly however, Aboriginal art is being taught in new ways including through family cultural trips, connecting to country, at schools in varying degrees and universities, art centres and in more personal ways. Young Aboriginal artists are constantly striving to find new ways to express their culture with the little information that they have and many want to learn more but don’t know how.
Art is a way of expressing their identity, their sense of belonging and connection back to the land, community, family and culture. If Aboriginal artists didn’t make art to express all of this, then the dreaming would become lost and we, as Aboriginal people, would be lost too. Art is a major part of life for Aboriginal people and culture, it brings us back to ourselves, our family and the land from which we come from. Without Aboriginal Art Australia would lose its identity and heart. “Art is incredibly important to me: I know I would be lost without it.”
The above except is from the Dreamtime Companion Book which will be soon made available on Mirree's website here: www.artbymirree.com.au
In 1999 Mirree won the Natural gas Dhuubuu Koori Arts and Culture Young Achiever of the year Award, attached is Mirree and her father, which both won Awards that year.
In 2022 Mirree won the Australian Enterprise Award for “Best Contemporary Artist”, see attached.
How did you begin creating Art? And does it connect you to Culture?
I began creating Art when I was only 16-17 years of age to leave a destructive life behind. And I never looked back since. It wasn’t until I was in the middle of my University Degree in 2000 that I began to focus on my culture as a foundation to my work, because this was about the time I decided to take Art very seriously.
I knew this was the best way for me to express myself and what I wanted to get out what I felt was trapped inside of me.
You can read this article which helps to explain more about this in the Dubbo Photo News which is from Mirree's hometown:
Is art an effective form of storytelling, especially for Dreaming?
Art especially is such an effective form of story-telling as it enables the viewer to understand the artwork, like opening the window up to whats inside that artwork from the Artist’s point of view and more so if there is a story.
It helps others to pinpoint the Artist’s journey in relation the location and experiences of the Dreaming.
Art can be a form of healing for those that want to simplify or turn their lives around.
In the The Dreamtime Oracle Deck “Black Swan” Dreaming message helps us to understand the importance of expressing ourselves through the different forms of art and creativity -
Going on a journey whether it’s a small trip in the car or a meditative one where you can journey within yourself through the use of meditation, healing, song, dance, music or art which is highly beneficial to you right now. Use this time wisely to expand the knowledge of your inner beauty.
In 2022 Mirree won the Corporate LiveWire “Innovation & Excellence Award” for Contemporary Artist of the Year, click here to read the article.
What are your favourite methods for creating these artworks?
Although Acrylic on Canvas is a method I use a-lot of the time due to time-constraints and popularity of my Art, another one of My favourite methods for creating the Artwork are with using raw materials from country, these may include natural beeswax from a nearby bee keeper, charcoal which has been used from campfires with family, natural ochres from country and red dirt from areas that I am spiritually connected to such as Dubbo in the central west of NSW which is my hometown or Bourke which is the country my father was born.
Made from natural materials from the land above: "Dingo Spirit"
In 2009 Mirree won the "Teacher of the Year Award" for teaching Cultural Arts at the Canberra Institute of Technology in the Yurauna centre to aboriginal people from the ages of 15-55, which is a centre for Aboriginal education, see attached.
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