Josh Muir is a Melbourne based multimedia artist. In 2015 Muir was the recipient of the Telstra National Indigenous and Torres Straight Islander Art Award – Youth Award and the Hutchinson Scholarship, through which he undertook a 12 month residency at the Victorian College of the Arts.
‘I am a proud Yorta Yorta / Gunditjmara man, I hold my culture strong to my heart and it gives me a voice and great sense of my identity. I look around I see empires built on aboriginal land, I cannot physically change or shift this, though I can make the most of my culture in a contemporary setting and my art projects reflect my journey.’ – Josh Muir.
Muir’s work has been acquired by the Koorie Heritage Trust, The National Gallery of Australia, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, the National Gallery of Victoria and was commissioned as a major project artist by White Night.
Featured selections for this exhibition at The Gallery at City Library include recent exhibition pieces shown at The Lyric Emerging Artist Gallery: Cosby, Enter, Smile, Create Change, Foreign Mindset and Care; and from Josh Muir’s Murrunghurk series: Escape, New Life, Conflict and Negotiation.
‘Murrunghurk’ tells the story of Willliam Buckley, ‘the wild white man’. While exploring the local Aboriginal history of Victoria, Muir was fascinated by the story. William Buckley was transported to Australia in 1803 for receiving a bolt of stolen cloth. He escaped from the first settlement of Port Phillip Bay, and at the point of starvation he fatefully took a spear from a recently dug grave to use as a crutch. The Wathaurong people believed him to be the owner of the spear returned from the dead, and accepted him into the tribe, where he learned their customs and language and lived with the tribe for 32 years.
‘He became a part of their culture and didn’t try to make them a part of his culture… he was an example of how white people could have lived in harmony with Aboriginal people. Imagine If every non-Aboriginal person in Australia had taken the same approach as William?’ – Josh Muir.