Gunditjmara/Yorta Yorta artist Josh Muir, whose brightly-painted, vibrant mural and painting work is represented in galleries and public spaces around Australia died on Saturday.
Widely recognised for his ability to combine the fluidity of street art with imagery and inspiration drawn from his cultural background, Mr Muir also liked to extend and experiment with the materials he used, and had in recent years used digital prints transferred to aluminium sheeting as a format, giving his work durability in the outdoors. He loved, and reflected his love, of pop art and music in his paintings and murals.
His work was also used in animated light projections, memorably in Ballarat and Melbourne for the White Night festivals. Mr Muir's work has been acquired by several major public galleries and organisations, including the The National Gallery of Australia, the Ballarat Art Gallery, the Bendigo Art Gallery, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Koorie Heritage Trust.
His mural Roots is located in Alfred Deakin Place in Ballarat, and during 2017 one of his designs was used on the Richmond Football Club's guernseys in the AFL Dreamtime round.
Always willing to talk about his artistic processes and inspirations, Mr Muir was the subject of almost a dozen interviews with The Courier, where he also spoke candidly about his struggles with his identity, with drug use and with his own mental health.
In recent times he had been working as a mentor with the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), a program giving Indigenous children the skills and confidence to make the move from high school into tertiary education and building careers. He was adamant any person who pursued their vision, and was prepared to apply themselves wholly, would learn and grow, even if the process was painful.
"I just like to create artwork, to express myself and my voice," Mr Muir told The Courier in 2017.
"For such a long time I was so shy. I had low self-esteem and my confidence was down. When I discovered art, I was able to share something of myself. It's a powerful tool to encourage positive messages. I've come to learn about my culture and my family... things that have been handed down to me over the years. It's a good outlet.
"As long as I keep pushing the barriers and setting an example, I feel like the young generation will move up with their own take on how they want to perceive culture."
Mr Muir is survived by his children and family.
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