JXSH MVIR: Forever I Live

KHT Josh Muir We Will SurviveThe first major solo retrospective exhibition of the late Josh Muir (born 1991), following his passing in 2022, the Koorie Heritage Trust (KHT) presents JXSH MVIR: Forever I Live from 9 March 2024.

Josh Muir was born and raised on Wadawurrung Country in Ballarat, Victoria. The exhibition title is taken from an artwork of the same name – Forever I Live (2015) – and is a reference to the ongoing legacy that continues to live in Josh’s artwork beyond life itself.

JXSH MVIR: Forever I Live is co-curated by Josh’s partner Shanaya Sheridan, his mother Justine Berg and the curatorial team at KHT.

During his relatively short, yet prolific career, Josh produced a vast range of paintings and digital artworks that were characterised by a unique vernacular of contemporary iconography, developed by the artist over the course of his career.

Muir embraced digital methods of production and a visual language influenced by street art, a pop aesthetic and incorporate various forms of design. His works simultaneously maintain the continuous tradition of storytelling that is inseparable from his cultural identity as a Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta and Barkindji man.

His artworks draw on a range of themes including cultural identity, the impacts and legacies of colonisation, extending to more personal experiences of mental health, addiction, loss and grief. Throughout his career, Muir frequently commented on the important role art played in an ongoing process of healing for him.

His works are characterised by a vibrant use of colour and geometric patterning across a range of media, including painting, digital prints on aluminium, neon, animated video works and augmented reality experiences.

Muir first exhibited with the KHT in 2013 as part of a group show The Ballarat Four that included fellow First Peoples Ballarat based artists Aunty Bronwyn Razem, Aunty Marlene Gilson and Deanne Gilson.

However, Muir really came into his own in 2014, as the winner of the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards People’s Choice Award 2014, for his work Heaven’s Gates (2014).

In the same year he also won the Creative Victoria Excellence Award in the Koorie Heritage Trust’s 2nd Koorie Art Show, for his work The Throne (2014), as well as the Ballarat Youth Awards Visual Art and Design prize.

In 2015, Muir was the recipient of the Youth and People’s Choice Award in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA), for his artwork Buninyong (2015).

In 2016, Muir produced a large format public art commission in the form of an animated projection titled Still Here (2016) on the façade of the National Gallery of Victoria for White Night Melbourne 2016.

This work tells the story of First Peoples in Victoria before and after colonisation, “Life has changed, we have struggled, been treated badly… but we are still here – and growing stronger with each generation.” (Josh Muir).

In 2017, Muir was one of eight artists (the only First Peoples artist) selected for the Melbourne Art Trams project, which was revived for the 2017 Melbourne Festival program.

In 2018, Muir held his first solo exhibition Josh X Muir at the Koorie Heritage Trust. In the same year, Muir was the recipient of the Lendlease Reconciliation Award in the 6th Koorie Art Show at KHT for his digital print on aluminium with neon work Journey to Liberty (2018).

In 2019, he was offered the inaugural Going Solo: First Nations exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery, titled What’s on your mind? featuring an eight-part installation by Muir in collaboration with digital animator Isobel Knowles and experiential design consultancy Art Processors.

JXSH MVIR: Forever I Live
Koorie Heritage Trust – Birrarung Building, Federation Square, Melbourne
Exhibition: Saturday 9 March – Sunday 14 July 2024
Free entry

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

Image: Josh Muir (Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta and Barkindji), We Will Survive, 2015, digital print on aluminium, 1025 x 1015mm, Collection of Koorie Heritage Trust