Sir John Monash Lecture 2020: Making Invisible Visible

Exploration of Indigenous Country and culture through the prism of art, design and architectural practices is the theme of the panel discussion for this year’s Sir John Monash Lecture.

On Friday, 27 November at 7pm panel members will discuss their individual practices and their shared interest in revealing the layers of history and memory that reside in place through Indigenous art and design.

Each year, the Sir John Monash Lecture is one of the most highly anticipated events on Council’s cultural events calendar and this year will be no different, except that due to COVID-19 it will be delivered online.

Monash Mayor Brian Little said he was proud of the reputation of the Sir John Monash Lecture as a forum for commentary on contemporary issues and the high calibre of this year’s panel, including Moderator Rhoda Roberts AO, prominent Indigenous arts leader, actor and broadcaster.

“I am excited for this opportunity for us all to learn more about Aboriginal knowledge, culture and connection to land through the work of our outstanding panel of artists and designers,” Cr Little said.

“It will be revealing to see the ways the ways in which they are embedding cultural knowledge and identity into their contemporary practices.”

Panel members are:

Dr Peta Clancy is a descendent of the Bangerang Nation from the Murray Goulburn area South Eastern Australia. In 2020 she was commissioned by the Monash Gallery of Art (MGA) to create a photographic installation, for her ongoing ‘Undercurrent’ series, for the group exhibition ‘Portrait of Monash: the ties that bind’. She created a photographic installation exploring the erasure of Indigenous sites of significance within Country of Baluk willam of the Woi wurrung and the Nguruk willam of the Boon wurrung. Dr Clancy is a Senior Lecturer in the Fine Art Department, Faculty of Monash Art, Design and Architecture (MADA) at Monash University.

Dr Brian Martin is a descendant of Bundjalung, MurraWarri and Kamilaroi peoples and has been a practising artist for twenty-seven years exhibiting in the media of painting and drawing. His research and practice focus on refiguring Australian art and culture from an Indigenous ideological perspective based on a reciprocal relationship to Country. His work has been recognised in various art prizes and is held in various private and public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria. Brian is the inaugural Associate Dean Indigenous in the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture (MADA) at Monash University, where he leads the Wominjeka Djeembana research lab and is honorary professor of Eminence with Centurion University of Technology and Management in Odisha, India.

Jefa Greenaway (Wailwan|Kamilaroi) is founding Director of the award winning practice – Greenaway Architects (est. 1998), a University of Melbourne senior academic of two decades standing, and a regular design commentator on ABC Radio Melbourne. He’s championed Indigenous-led design thinking for over 25 years as a registered architect in NSW and VIC, including as co-founder of Indigenous Architecture + Design Victoria (not-for-profit), as co-author of the International Indigenous Design Charter, and as Regional Ambassador (Oceania) of INDIGO (International Indigenous Design Network).

Rhoda Roberts AO is a member of the Bundjalung nation, Widjabul clan of Northern NSW and South East QLD. Roberts heads First Nations Programming for the Sydney Opera House, is Festival Director of the Boomerang Festival/Bluesfest and Creative Director of the Parrtjima Festival (NT). A much awarded arts executive, she received an AO for distinguished service to the performing arts, leadership, advocacy and promoting contemporary Indigenous culture.

Speaking about the theme for this year’s upcoming lecture, Moderator Rhoda Roberts AO commended Monash for enabling a First Nations-led narrative on art and design.

“Culturally we are continually connected to the surrounding landscape through land, sea and sky country. It is the embodiment of our philosophy, spirituality and interconnected art expression,” Roberts said.

“The Australian landscape is and will always change; excitingly we are entering a new phase within the built environment, combining cultural knowledge, with physical structures, design and art. The panel will introduce a depth of story and the two-way knowledge transfer that is occurring.”

The online Zoom webinar event on Friday 27 November is free but bookings are essential via our website

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