BOLD and bright in the heart of Melbourne stands Ballarat Indigenous street artist Josh Muir's final series of work: FED SQ, large letters showing the evolving story of place in Federation Square.
Muir's trademark style and passion for promoting reconciliation are on show amid the streetscape, while nearby inside the Atrium is This Place: for Jamari and Jaya, an exhibition of Muir's final works and pieces not shown before all on sale to benefit his children.
The exhibition, led by &Gallery in partnership with Fed Square, is underway with the blessing of Muir's family, after the proud Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara man died unexpectedly in February. Muir was 30 years old.
Curator for &Gallery Julie Collins said it was an honour to present this collection as a celebration of Muir's art.
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Ballarat also features as a subject with pride in Muir's collection. He grew up in Ballarat, attending Forest Street Primary School and St Patrick's College.
When commissioned for the Fed Square letters project, Muir chose to tell the history of the place, now known as Fed Square, in each letter: Indigenous land use and connection to the Yarra River; early colonial settlement, farming and the gold rush; "modern 1960s/1970s Melbourne" with trams; constructing Federation Square and a changing skyline; and, Federation Square as it is today, the people's place and still Aboriginal land.
Widely recognised for infusing cultural inspiration into street art, Muir had been exploring new materials for his work, particularly in transferring his digital prints on to aluminium and creating outdoor works. This is the format for Fed Sq.
Muir's has also created animated light installations for White Night events - his work Still Here was projected on the National Gallery of Victoria facade. This led to a series of sold-out exhibitions across the nation and major commissioned jobs, including the 2017 Richmond Football Club's Dreamtime at the 'G guernsey.
Art was a "powerful tool" for Muir, who told The Courier in 2017 art offered a way for him to express his voice and share positive messages.
"[In] 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," Muir had said.
This Place: for Jamari and Jaya is on display in Fed Square and in the Atrium, opposite The Ian Potter Centre and NGV entrance, until Sunday.
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