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Artereal Gallery is excited to present our first physical solo exhibition with Maddison Gibbs. This new body of paintings and screen prints follows from two previous online exhibitions, through which collectors were introduced to a cast of powerful and ethereal contemporary Aboriginal, Female spirit figures. Conjured up and inspired by an Indigenous understanding of and respect for elements of flora, fauna and the natural world, the spirits are translators of nature’s distress and a prompt for accountability these beings are fast becoming unique icons within Maddison Gibbs’ practice.
Both an artist and activist, Maddison Gibbs is a proud Gunu Baakandji woman who grew up in Dubbo and currently lives and works between Sydney and Kandos, NSW. A fast-emerging artist gaining attention for the balance of poetry and politics that underpin her work, Gibbs’ practice examines dual histories – focusing on stories of past and present Aboriginal societies and spirits.
Since her first online exhibition with Artereal Gallery in 2021, Maddison Gibbs has established herself as an artist to watch and take note of. To date, she has been awarded the Muru Award as part of the 2022 HIDDEN Rookwood Sculpture Prize and was also the winner of the 2021 Yapang Emerging Art Prize at Lake Macquarie Gallery. Aboriginal art Award for Fishers ghost 2022, Most recently, Gibbs was announced as a finalist in the prestigious Create NSW and Artspace 2023 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (Emerging).
“Shadow Whisperers are the backbone of Aboriginal existence. These spirits have been passing down knowledge for hundreds of thousands of years. The stories they share are about the fragility of land and life and how we need to care for and respect all of these things, in stark contrast to our reality.
The Shadow Whisperers tell stories of life and death cycles. They remind us that whatever energy we take from the earth, we must replace – with song, dance, art, time, messages, love, care and action.
The Shadow Whisperers are families who were removed from their traditional lands and forced onto missions. Forced to hide and retreat. Historically we have had to practice culture “in the shadows” as it was illegal to speak language or teach culture on missions. Rules which were punished through the use of violence, fear and the withholding of food and water.
This country has been invaded for 253 years and is stuck in a toxic cycle that is hindering the advancement and growth of Aboriginal knowledge and culture. Which is the only thing that can save us.
I have drawn these beings as shadows of ourselves, honouring our old people and stories that have been silenced. For all living things that don’t have a voice. They show us messages through climate catastrophes – the language of the land.
The spirit voices are now guiding us, lifting us up. They have paved the way for us to continue practicing culture and teaching truths and to continue my belief that Sovereignty/Treaty as Aboriginal people is the only solution.”
Artist Statement, 2023
Maddison Gibbs is a proud Barkindji woman who grew up in Dubbo, NSW. She currently lives and works between Sydney and Kandos, NSW.
Both artist and activist, Maddison Gibbs practice examines dual histories – focusing on stories of past and present Aboriginal societies and spirit. A multidisciplinary artist, Gibbs works across a wide spectrum of cultural praxis, utilising many methods and ideologies. Current thematics include intergenerational stories of contemporary Aboriginal affairs – with a focus on telling women’s narratives.
Maddison Gibb’s work is polarising, offering up culturally feminine intuitive visual poetics which at times starkly contrast with her art activism at the barricades. The dual sensitivities of caring for a country and fighting injustice is an interesting tension and one that is explored through out Gibbs practice.
“My artworks are based on my culture, people and surroundings, they tell stories of past and present by using contemporary methods and ideologies. My works include political statements and educational information regarding Aboriginal issues, a subject which I am extremely passionate about. I use different mediums for my works including drawing, ceramics, printmaking and animation.”
Having previously studied Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts at Eora College in Sydney, Maddison Gibbs recently completed a Bachelor of Animation at the University of Technology Sydney.
An emerging artist whose practice has recently begun to garner significant attention, Maddison Gibbs’ artworks have been included as part of Vivid Festival, Sydney Fringe Festival, Hobiennale at Moonah Arts Centre in Tasmania and the 2020 Bankstown Biennale.
Her work was also included in group exhibitions Here I am at Ambush Gallery (2020) and No Show at Carriageworks (2021). Recent artist residencies include the Inner west council EDGE greenway residency (2021), the Cementa21 first nations residency (2021), and the Australian Antarctic division residency (2019).
Working regularly on a multitude of public art murals, Maddison Gibbs also worked on the restoration of the 40,000 years mural at The Block, Redfern, and was recently commissioned to create a large-scale public artwork for the new Eveleigh Precinct in Sydney. In 2019 she was the recipient of the Australian Museum’s prestigious Young Indigenous Artist Fellowship and she has also been awarded the Rotary Club of Sydney Soukup Animation Grant and the Bob Morgan International Scholarship.
All prices are in Australian dollars and inclusive of GST.
Framing (unless otherwise specified), freight and shipping costs are not included.
Please note that the works on paper are editioned (5 + 2 AP), however due to the nature of the making process, slight colour various may occur between editions.
Maddison Gibbs can also be commissioned to create site-specific murals.
Please contact the gallery for further details on commissions.
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