Street artist wins $45,000 Indigenous arts residency

Contemporary artist Josh Muir, whose work draws on hip-hop and street art culture, has won a year-long residency at the University of Melbourne, including a cash grant of $40,000 and up to $5,000 for materials as part of the Hutchinson Indigenous Residency.

Based at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), the Residency was created to enable Indigenous artists to undertake significant projects of their choice and will allow the 24 year-old Yorta Yorta/Gunditjmara man from Ballarat the time and space to reflect and research ideas for his artwork.

Mr Muir said he was very excited to be moving to Melbourne to develop his work and tell stories of his life, his people, and the world around him through digital imagery and sculpture.

“As a visual storyteller, research is very important to the development of my ideas and having access to resources at the University of Melbourne is going to be an amazing opportunity. I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the VCA art studios, to learning new skills and dedicating myself to the creative life,” he said.

“I am devoted to keeping my art focused on my heritage and what it means to be an Aboriginal artist today. By using contemporary street art methods in my artwork I believe I can give audiences new ways to learn about our history, our present, and our future.”

Associate Dean of the VCA & MCM and Chair of the selection panel Deborah Cheetham said the Residency aimed to build an alumni of Victorian Indigenous artists, enabling them to share their ideas, enhance their skills and to strengthen and develop Indigenous cultural practice.

“For more than one thousand generations the Indigenous people of this land have passed on all knowledge of geography, the sciences, medicine and humanity through the visual and performing arts,” she said.

“Josh has a strong connection to his culture and uses his heritage to explore his Indigenous identity through art. He is bound to take advantage of every opportunity the University of Melbourne offers him.”

The Hutchinson Indigenous Residency was established in perpetuity last year from a $1 million grant from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and named in honour of Darvell M Hutchinson, who steered the Trust for 50 years. Hutchinson Indigenous Fellowship applications are open to all Victorian Indigenous artists.

The gift is part of Believe - the Campaign for the University of Melbourne.

Story by Louise Bennet