Dr Deanne Gilson is a Proud Wadawurrung woman living on her ancestral Country of Ballarat which is located in Australia. Her award-winning multi-disciplinary art practice has spanned forty years full time creating through painting, clay (sculptural installation), fashion & textile design, photography, drawing and recently being included as an upcoming Blak Jewellery Designer.
Celebrating her continued living culture through art and design that revives traditional marks used by Wadawurrung family, contemporary ceremonial business and including oral stories like her Creation Story. She depicts many indigenous plants, trees, birds, often painting endangered species to highlight the importance of taking care of the land and all living things. Working with the notion that time is traversed and all is connected through layers of Dja (Country), from the Cosmos, to Sky to Under Country. Alongside the issues faced by Aboriginal women stemming from the white male and female colonial gaze.
Gilson highlights the beauty of Dja through use of natural ochres sourced by herself on Wadawurrung Dja. While at the same time challenging colonial patriarchal views, including those expressed in the arts and crafts of early Australia. Her contemporary art practice is an attempt to revive and regain the presence of cultural identity, but also to play a deeper role in preserving and highlighting cultural practices and symbology, thereby awakening culture once again.
Stating that “my practice aims to demonstrate the way in which contemporary Aboriginal women’s art and business, including sacred and spiritual aspects, is evolving in response to the current social and political environment. We are reclaiming, reinvigorating, teaching our children, and unravelling the trauma caused by the invasion of our Country”.
Her artwork has recently been collected by the Koorie Heritage Trust and the National Gallery of Victoria and held in many other public and private collections throughout the world.