My name is Deanne Gilson. I am a proud Wathaurung woman and award winning visual artist working in paint, clay installations, fashion and fabric design, photography, sculpture, film and Aboriginal women’s business ceremonies. My art practice and current PhD research look at the objectification of Aboriginal women by the male colonial gaze and how this has affected Aboriginal women and what was known as traditional women’s business. I create contemporary art to heal, disrupt and challenge the male colonial gaze, through a reflective process. I am highlighting and bringing back women’s business through my art practice and research, further linking this to the revived practice of ceremony.
I am currently in the process of creating my first fashion range, that will be available early 2019. Along with being given the opportunity through the City of Ballarat to create a sculptural park. I hope the park generates a place of peace, healing and well-being for all who visit. Art has transformed my life and I believe leaves traces of the people who have created it behind. The park will be a place for my children, grandchildren and family to come and connect with Country and spirit. The site will be revealed early 2019.
My love affair with art began as a seven year old girl making small clay pots, while living in country Victoria. I used to gather the clay from a clay pit near my home and spend days sitting in the white clay sculpting vessels for hours on end. As I developed a deep appreciation for the Australian bush and roses from my mum’s garden, I later realised that everything I needed as an artist, was here in the bush and home. My soul lives for the patches of wild daffodils rows of yellow wattle trees, banksia and gum trees.
Around my teenage years I started to understand my Aboriginal, Australian and English heritage and how different they were. I come from two different cultural worlds and through my art, reconciliation and understanding has come after much angst. The artworks for me are connected to place, Country, the importance of making on ones ancestral Country, identity – being both black and white, gender – being a female – identifying as a black feminist artist. Social and political views, religion versus Aboriginal spirituality, lived experiences – taking in memory of past, present and future hopes, particularly in an Aboriginal cultural space and art.
Furthermore, being constantly inspired by form, with many objects I paint or sculpt, representing the metaphor for the body. People, place and pots, are alive and tell a story deeper than the objects themselves.