Dr Deanne Gilson: Still Sacred and Golden

Deanne Gilson (Wadawurrung) Still Sacred and Golden (Sacred Kingfisher and Golden Wattle) 2022 featureStill Sacred and Golden – an exhibition of seventeen new paintings by proud Wadawurrung woman, Dr Deanne Gilson, has gone on show at the Koorie Heritage Trust.

An emerging Elder from Ballarat, Deanne has long held an interest the objectification of Aboriginal women by the male and female colonial gaze and how this has affected Aboriginal women.

Still Sacred and Golden is an exhibition “celebrating our plants and cultural practices through contemporary women’s business, returning the colonial gaze and highlighting we are still objectified; however, I do this in a subtle way through kitsch objects of First Nations peoples that were inappropriate and quite hurtful to see,” said Gilson.

“I am looking at the objects of our daily lives and as a First Nations artist responding to the objectified and yet showing us as still here, and our culture is still sacred to us. The flowers are all about honouring the beauty of Country and our women with the knowledge held in the baskets I will be painting.’’

“The gold references two things for me, the gold fields in which I live and that our knowledge is golden and important and worth more than gold. My ancestors had no use of gold itself it is just a metaphor… The true gold isn’t the gold from the gold fields, it’s us,” said Gilson.

Deanne spent her early years growing up in Naarm (Melbourne). At the age of seven, Deanne, her parents and three siblings relocated to her Ancestral Country which encompasses Ballarat and surrounding areas. Deanne has a deep appreciation for the bush and the Indigenous plants, trees and flowers that surrounded her as a child.

Deanne is an award-winning multi-media visual artist, with a practice spanning thirty-nine years. Deanne’s mother is Aunty Marlene Gilson, a painter, with her own award-winning art practice.

Deanne recently completed her PhD at Deakin University which examined the objectification of Aboriginal women by the male and female colonial gaze and how this has affected Aboriginal women and traditional women’s business.

Deanne’s recent artworks feature themes about colonial disruption; loss of family, culture, language and traditional women’s practices; and, the continuing impact of loss on Aboriginal women today. Deanne creates contemporary art that assists in healing, disrupting and challenging the gaze through a reflective process.

Deanne’s works position traditional marks alongside contemporary ones, referencing women’s business and its links to ceremonial practice.

Still Sacred and Golden
Koorie Heritage Trust – Yarra Building, Fed Square, Melbourne
Exhibition continues to 18 September 2022
Free entry

For more information, visit: www.koorieheritagetrust.com.au for details.

Image: Deanne Gilson (Wadawurrung), Still Sacred and Golden (Sacred Kingfisher and Golden Wattle), 2022, pink ochre, acrylic and 18ct gold leaf on linen, 660 x 660 mm. Courtesy of the artist – photo by Christian Capurro