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Presented with ACMI

Shadow Spirit Talk Series

Shadow Spirit Artists in Conversation

An Ancestral spirit snake appears to two people on an astral plane, floating in the sky against a setting sun.
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  • 45 minutes allowing 1 hour overall
  • Free ticketed event
  • Featuring artists from Shadow Spirit exhibition in conversation



  • Wheelchair Accessible


  • Sitting
An Ancestral spirit snake appears to two people on an astral plane, floating in the sky against a setting sun.
More details below

Join Shadow Spirit artists as they discuss the development of their new works and the unique cultural, creative and imaginative stories and knowledge shared. From themes of ecofeminism from a Sovereign woman perspective, to a special In Conversation with Aunty Zeta Thomson.

Shadow Spirit : Sky Country, Dreamscapes and Uncovering Histories

Thu 8 June, 6—7PM

This session will focus on the influence of dreams, sky country and the histories hidden that have been illuminated in the exhibition.


Brian Robinson (TSI/QLD)
Maluyligal/ Wuthathi

With his ability to meld contemporary influences and cultural knowledge he has developed a dynamic aesthetic. His graphic prints and sculptures are known to draw you into with a constellation of details.

Dylan Mooney (TSI/QLD)
Yuwi / Meriam/ South Sea Islander

Mooney is influenced by history, culture and family and responds to community stories, current affairs and social media.

Judy Watson (QLD)

Watson’s process evolves by working from site and memory, revealing Indigenous histories, and following lines of emotional and physical topography that centre on particular places and moments in time.

Hayley Millar Baker (VIC)
Gunditjmara, Djabwurrung

Through examining the role our identities play in translating and conveying our experiences, Hayley works across photography, collage, and film to interrogate and abstract autobiographical narratives and themes relating to her own identity. Her oblique storytelling methods encourage us to embrace that the passage of identity, culture, and memory are not linear nor fixed.

Shadow Spirit : In conversation with Aunty Zeta Thomson

Fri 9 June, 4—5PM

For RISING 2023, Aunty Zeta presents Spirits Of The Land, a work that shares the belief systems and stories of spirit ecologies that relate to Yorta Yorta and Wurundjeri country. Spirits Of The Land takes you into the stories Aunty Zeta was told as child and the cultural knowledge her elders, including her Grandmother and mother, shared with her and her older siblings.

Aunty Zeta Thomson is a respected Elder and descendant of the Yarra Yarra Clan of the Wurundjeri people through her father and grandfather, Alexander Briggs. She is a descendant of the Ulupna Clan of the Yorta Yorta people on her mother and grandmother, Teresa (Yarmuk) Clements. A renowned artist, culture teacher and advocate for the rights of Aboriginal prisoners in Victoria, Aunty Zeta retains strong connections to her ancestral homelands.
She has had a lifetime involvement in Aboriginal affairs, working at a community level, like many of her family members. She has supported land rights and Aboriginal rights with her family. Aunty Zeta was the first Victorian Aboriginal artist to have work exhibited at Melbourne Museum’s Bunjilaka Gallery.

Her paintings are inspired by the family stories and her work shares her culture. “Aboriginal art is storytelling; it is inspired by old creation stories”.

Shadow Spirit : Protecting Country and Blak Ecofeminism

Fri 9 June, 6—7PM

In this conversation, hear from the artists of Shadow Spirit and the way in which they responded to the themes, developed their work and expanded ambitious ideas. This session will focus on the underlying themes of ecofeminism from a Sovereign woman perspective and the systems of knowledge explored through the works.


Karla Dickens (NSW)

A careful collector of racially and sexually charged memorabilia, and other found objects, Dickens is a caretaker over material cultures that haunt. Primarily her works investigate her own intersected identities of being Aboriginal, gay and a single mother.

Dr Paola Balla (VIC)
Wemba Wemba / Gunditjmara

Dr Paola Balla is a Wemba Wemba and Gunditjmara woman and acclaimed artist, writer curator and educator. She focuses on Aboriginal women's stories and resistance with a visual practice, encapsulating research, art, memory and narrative realms. Her work centres Aboriginal women’s voices, activism, Sovereignty, and matriarchy and First Nations ways of being, knowing and doing.

Dr Vicki Couzens (VIC)
Keerray Wooroong / Gunditjmara

Couzens is a distinguished Victorian Aboriginal artist with an interdisciplinary practice, or as she prefers to call it, ‘creative cultural expression’ that includes—painting, installation, visual arts, printmaking, mixed media, performing arts, language, ceremony and teaching—but is best known for her central role in the revival of the possum skin cloak making tradition which began in Victoria and is now established across south-eastern Australia. Vicki has worked in the Aboriginal community for more than 40 years and has played a significant role in not only cultural revival but also in language research and revival and has collaboration and cultural knowledge at the core of her practice.

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*Shadow Spirit* is presented by Metro Trains Melbourne and supported by The Besen Family Foundation, The Robert Salzer Foundation, Canny Quine Foundation, Dashiell Gantner and Anna Foley, The Dara Foundation and Gordon Darling Foundation. *Shadow Spirit* is commissioned and produced by RISING. Co-commissioned by Illuminate Adelaide.

  • ACMI

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