Portrait of Maree Clarke

Maree Clarke

Maree Clarke is a Yorta Yorta/Wamba Wamba/Mutti Mutti/Boonwurrung woman who grew up in northwest Victoria, mainly in Mildura, on the banks of the Murray River. Maree has been a practicing artist living and working in Melbourne for the last three decades and is a pivotal figure in the reclamation of southeast Australian Aboriginal art practices, reviving elements of Aboriginal culture that were lost – or laying dormant - over the period of colonisation. Maree is known for her open and collaborative approach to cultural practice.

Maree’s continuing desire to affirm and reconnect with her cultural heritage has seen her revification of the traditional possum skin cloaks, together with the production of contemporary designs of kangaroo teeth necklaces, river reed necklaces and multi media installations of photography including lenticular prints, 3D photographs and photographic holograms as well as painting, sculpture and video installation further explore the customary ceremonies, rituals and language of her ancestors and reveal her long held ambitions to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue about the ongoing effects of colonisation, while simultaneously providing space for the Aboriginal community to engage with and ‘mourn’ the impact of dispossession and loss. 

Maree Clarke was awarded the Linewide Commission for the Metro Tunnel project (current) and is the recipient of the 2020 Australia Council Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Fellowship. Her major survey exhibition Ancestral Memories is currently showing at the National Gallery of Victoria’s Australian Galleries at Federation Square, Melbourne, until October 2021.

Photo credit: Eugene Hyland