Maree Clarke 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, as well as a leader in nurturing and promoting the diversity of contemporary southeast Aboriginal artists.
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 string headbands adorned with kangaroo teeth and echidna quills, in both traditional and contemporary materials such as glass and 3D printing.
Maree Clarke’s 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 is known for her open and collaborative approach to cultural practice. She consistently works in intergenerational collaboration to revive dormant cultural knowledge – and uses technology to bring new audiences to contemporary southeast Aboriginal arts.
Maree Clarke has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, and in 2021 she was the subject of a major survey exhibition Maree Clarke – Ancestral Memories at the National Gallery of Victoria. Other recent exhibitions includeTarnanthi, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2021), The National, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney (2021), Reversible Destiny, Tokyo Photographic Museum, Tokyo Japan (2021) and the King Wood Mallesons Contemporary Art Prize, for which she was awarded the Victorian Artist award. In 2020 she 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.