Her two strengths – art and her children – are artist Tamara Murray’s inspiration for her first solo exhibition.
Seven new pieces by the Barkindji woman will be seen for the first time at the exhibition opening tonight at burraja gallery.
They mark a significant move away from Murray’s previous work, such as concentrated dot paintings that are highly visible in the Department of Health and Human Services offices at Wodonga and Wangaratta.
“A lot of my work previously was really tight and intense; it was about filling up the whole canvas and spending months on one,” she said.
“I stand back to look at this work and think ‘It’s not me’, because it’s so much more free and I loved it.
“Growing up, I always had art to keep me grounded and it was my therapy for everything, and then I had my kids.
“They came into the studio and said ‘Mum, this is so different, but it’s amazing’.”
Murray’s new style came about this year, in between working on pieces for Charles Sturt University, winning the AWAHS acquisitive prize, and more.
“I was always stuck in two worlds where I was non-Indigenous or Indigenous, but I just wanted to be me, so I paint contemporary with Indigenous,” she said.
The Two Strengths exhibition was born when burraja gallery Aboriginal arts curator Bethany Thornber reached out to Murray about showing her work.
“I could see she was really pushing her work in a new direction and loved how fluid the works were,” Thornber said.
“Her past work was still beautiful, but I thought this would symbolise a new era.
“You can expect a really vibrant colour palette and very expressive works from Tamara, which is why people are so drawn to her art.”
The burraja gallery at Gateway Village was re-launched earlier this year, and showcases local Aboriginal artists.
The Two Strengths opening runs from 5.30pm to 7pm tonight, featuring a talk by the artist and refreshments.
Murray’s work remains on show until November 2.
Works by Wiradjuri man David Dunn and Marlene Plunkett (Boandik/Bunganditj) are also on display until November.