Art Forum

Art Forum is the Victorian College of the Arts' series of weekly talks by leading artists and curators. Providing a rich insight into their work and its relationship with the world, each guest speaker shares the themes, processes and ideas that drive their practice.

Upcoming Art Forums

Judy Watson is a Waanyi artist who works in printmaking, painting, video and installation. Her work often examines Indigenous Australian histories. Watson’s studio processes involving tracing, outlining and wet pigments are intimately connected with her interests in the indelible stains left on country through the reverberations of colonisation. Through the layering of surfaces, Watson’s ethereal imagery suggests notions of concealed pasts, memory and illumination. Her work is held in major Australian and international public collections. Most recently her work was shown at Tarrawarra in the exhibition Looking Glass: Judy Watson and Yhonnie Scarce and at Artspace in the exhibition djillong dumalara

Watson’s work will be featured in the forthcoming exhibitions The National at the MCA and The Image is not Nothing at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery.

Since the 1980s Lindy Lee has created paintings, works on paper and sculpture that draw on her Australian and Chinese heritage to articulate the experience of living between two cultures. Her works which explore the complexities associated with the history of art, the issues of cultural authenticity and personal identity are intimately linked with her interests in Daoism and Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism. Lee’s practice incorporates a range of symbolic gestures and processes that embody the inter connectedness of human experience, nature and the cosmos. Recent projects include the major 2020-2021 survey exhibition Lindy Lee; Moon in a Dew Drop at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Hayley Millar-Baker (Gunditjmara, AU) is a cross-cultural research-driven, artist based in Melbourne, Australia. Hayley’s process examines human experiences of time and memory, resulting in monochromatic photographic works — often in series that divulge her storytelling methodology. Through her work Hayley negates experiences of remembering/misremembering memory, while reflecting on how often personal recollections and historical accounts are improvised and embellished. By digitally assembling photography and archives, she is able to construct complex visual insights to past, present and future realms. Recent projects include a survey at University of Technology, Sydney, PHOTO2021: International Festival of Photography, TARNANTHI: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and Yirramboi Festival. Her work will be featured in the forthcoming exhibition The Image is not Nothing at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery.

Grace Lillian Lee is a proud descendant of the Miriam Mer people of the eastern islands of the Torres Straits. As a multicultural Australian artist, Grace explores her linage and Identity through the traditional art of weaving. She has become nationally and internationally renowned for her woven body adornments, which have been formed into public art in national cities and also acquired by art galleries, museums and private collectors. Through collaborations with Australian indigenous communities and their art centres, Grace has founded First Nations Fashion + Design, a platform for cultural expression and celebration by way of fashion creation and performances. These are instrumental in engaging young people from remote communities and providing an opportunity for them to represent and be proud of their culture and country through fashion and performance.

Glenda Nicholls is a Waddi Waddi, Ngarrindjeri and Yorta Yorta artist based in the Swan Hill region of Victoria. Her cultural name is Jule Yarra Minj, translating to little river girl and her maternal Ngarrindjeri totem is the Writcharuki or willy-willy wagtail. Glenda is a master weaver, constructing elaborate sculptural work that connects the present with the ancestral past. Glenda applies cultural weaving techniques she acquired alongside intimate knowledge of the waterways, river plants and grasses on her ancestral Country. Glenda is determined to share her cultural knowledge with younger First Nations generations, seeing this exchange as crucial to ensuring cultural practices survive into the future. In 2018 Glenda was invited to exhibit at the 4th Pulima Indigenous Arts Festival, Taipei, Taiwan. In late 2020 Glenda was awarded the prestigious University of Melbourne Hurchinson Indigenous Fellowship and her major commission Miwi Milloo (Good spirit of the Murray River), was included in the NGV Triennial.

Gabriella Hirst (she/her) was born and grew up on Cammeraygal land and is currently living between Berlin and London. She works primarily with moving image, performance, and with the garden as a site of critique and care. Gabriella's practice and research explores connections between various manifestations of capture and control - spanning plant taxonomies, landscape painting, art conservation and nuclear history. Gabriella recently launched Darling Darling, the 2020 ACMI/Ian Potter Moving Image Commission, which is currently showing at the new ACMI, to be followed by exhibition as part of The National 2021 at AGNSW. Gabriella is currently an associate lecturer in Media Studies with the Royal College of Art, School of Architecture in London.

Brenda L Croft is from the Gurindji/Malngin/Mudburra peoples from the Victoria River region of the Northern Territory of Australia, and Anglo-Australian/German/Irish/Chinese heritage. She has been involved in the Australian First Nations and broader contemporary arts and cultural sectors as an artist, arts administrator, consultant, curator, educator and researcher since the mid-1980s. Brenda’s transdisciplinary creative practice encompasses critical performative First Nations autoethnography, Indigenous Storying/Storywork and historiography, cultural reclamation, identity and representation. She melds personal and public archives throughout her creative practice, which is represented in major public and private collections in Australia and overseas. Brenda lives and works in Canberra on Ngambri/Ngunawal/Ngunnawal country where she is Associate Professor, Indigenous Art History and Curatorship at the Centre for Art History and Art Theory, School of Art and Design, College of Arts & Social Sciences, Australian National University.

Rosemary Laing is an Australian artist known for her photo-based work that is cinematic in vision and created with real-time performance and physical installation as opposed to digital manipulation. In culturally and historically resonant locations across Australia, Laing meticulously stages interventions. Her work is informed by post-colonial perspectives on the occupation and ownership of land and speculates upon how the past intersects with the present situation. Laing frequently works in series, creating thematic bodies of work that are large in scale and scope and cumulatively form an ongoing narrative of events that have impacted cultural consciousness.

Lisa Radford, a Lecturer in Art at the VCA, is an artist who writes and teaches. Between 1999 and 2010 she was a participant in the collaborative art group DAMP. recent exhibitions have included Painting. More Painting at ACCA; Approx. Geez Louise, Sutton Projects, and The 3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Russia

Yhonnie Scarce is a Lecturer in Art at the VCA, visual artist and a descendant of the Kokatha and Nukunu people from South Australia. Her hand-blown glass objects often reference the on-going effects of colonisation on Aboriginal people and comment on the social and political motives of historical and contemporary Australia.

In 2019, Lisa and Yhonnie undertook extensive encompassing sites of significance including Auschwitz, Chernobyl, Fukushima, Hiroshima, Maralinga, New York, Wounded Knee and former Yugoslavia. Their collaborative curatorial project The Image is not Nothing (Concrete Archives) at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery explores the ways in which acts of nuclear trauma, Indigenous genocide and cultural erasure have been memorialised by artists and others.

Previous Art Forums

From 26 March 2020, previous Art Forums can be viewed in the below playlist.

Supported by

Holding Redlich - Firm | Best Lawyers

The Victorian College of the Arts is grateful to Holding Redlich for its generous support of Art Forum.

Melbourne Reconciliation Network

Art Forum Semester Two is co-presented with the Melbourne Reconciliation Network.