Mawu-gi is a Gamilaraay verb meaning: to dig, to scratch. Gamilaraay is the language of the Kamilaroi Aboriginal people of Northwest NSW.
Mawu-gi Gamilaraay Aboriginal Art
Mawu-gi [ Brent Emerson ]
Artist - Soft Pastel Artist, Printmaker & Acrylic Painter
My creative work comes directly from what I observe in the world around me, especially when I am on country for cultural activities, sites work, bushwalking and fishing. I am greatly influenced by my family and community, and my Gamilaraay and Australian heritage, connection to Country and language. The connection between language and my creations is shown through my convention of using Gamilaraay titles for my works. This both educates others, expands my vocabulary and connects me to history (past, present and future).
I started creating 3 years ago following a recommendation from my psychologist, who was treating me for anxiety and depression, resulting from workplace bullying. This is something that I share with others so that they also feel that they can get help, and perhaps in the process find something they love doing. Previous to this I had never had the opportunity to create and was unaware that this was something that I had inside of me. When I am creating, I don’t think about yesterday or worry about tomorrow, I am simply in the moment. Art allows me to communicate my view and interpretation of the world. Together with my family, it gives me purpose.
I started as a printmaker (linoleum prints and serigraphs) after completing a Cert III Aboriginal cultural arts at Moree TAFE. Following this, I expanded my practice to using standard acrylic, and then impasto gel and spray acrylic. I especially love collecting, processing and using local ochres and natural pigments with acrylic as the binder.
Later, I took up the challenge of learning the new medium of soft pastels in 2018. With the help of a wonderful local tutor, Helena South, at weekly classes at the Inverell Art Gallery, I think I have found a medium that naturally suits me. After just 1 year of using soft pastels I was invited by Unison Colour to become an Associate Artist of Unison Colour and promote the wonderful medium of soft pastels. Soft pastels are an often misunderstood and underappreciated creative medium. I love applying pigment directly to a surface, it reminds me of all the work of my people that I see when I am out on Gamilaraay lands. It links me to the past, inspires me in the present and allows me share stories with others that will survive into the future through my art.
2018 ‘Bright and Deadly’, Gawura Gallery, Glen Innes.
2019 ‘Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’, Tamworth [upcoming Artstate Oct/Nov 2019].
2018 ‘Our Plains Our Hills Our Home: A celebration of Kamilaroi art and culture’, Yaama Ganu Gallery, Moree, NSW.
2018 'Regional Educators Exhibition', Inverell Art Gallery.
2017 ‘Celebrating 30 Years.’ Oorala Centre, University of New England, Armidale.
2017 ‘Our Languages Matter’ NAIDOC Week Exhibition, Inverell Art Gallery.
2017 ‘Beginnings’ Ceramic Break Sculpture Park, Warialda/Bingara.
Professional Associations / Memberships
Associate Artist of Unison Colour
Member: Pastel Society of Australia
Member: National Association for the Visual Arts
Member: Anaiwan Local Aboriginal Land Council
Perpetual Member: Inverell Art Gallery
2017 Certificate III Aboriginal Sites Work, TAFE New England.
2016 Certificate III Aboriginal Cultural Arts, Moree TAFE.
2009 Masters of Educational Studies (Mathematics), University of Newcastle.
2007 Graduate Diploma of Education (History & Geography), University of New England.
2006 Bachelor of Arts (Political Science), University of New England.
2005 Certificate IV Agriculture, Inverell TAFE.
2019 ‘Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’, Aboriginal Artist Professional Development Program, Arts North West.
Oorala Centre, University of New England, Armidale NSW.
Inverell Shire Council, Inverell NSW.
Sandra Myerscough, private collection, Oakleigh VIC.
2019 Soft Pastel Workshop, NAIDOC Week, Macintyre High School, Inverell NSW.