Metro Gallery invites you to celebrate Artist Raymond Young’s newest body of work Keeping Culture Alive.
Living and working locally in Melbourne, Young’s practice first began when he partook in the Torch Project’s Indigenous Arts in Prisons and Community Program.
Young has now established himself as an innovative newcomer within the Indigenous Arts scene. 2015 saw the artist recognised with theVictorian Indigenous Art Award for three-dimensional works by the Ballarat ArtGallery, following his participation in numerous highly praised exhibitions –namely his showcase in the National Gallery of Victoria’s inaugural show Melbourne Now, Melbourne Museum’s Bunjulaka Gallery The Journey : Yannae Wairrate Weelam and Horsham Regional Art Gallery Wominjeka: A New Beginning. Such achievements lead to Young solidifying his works as prominent constituents of notable art collections nationally and internationally, including but notlimited to: The National Gallery of Victoria, Koorie Heritage Trust, Shepparton Art Museum, Jeff and Felicity Kennett and The McGregor Family collections.
Through the employment of shields within Young’s practice,the artist draws parallels to Australia’s battle with its colonial past, as shields and artilleries once clashed when European commissions arrived upon the shores. Young’s endeavour exists as an effort to regain the culture of hisIndigenous people - through the process of making, breaking and ultimately rebuilding, these poignant works reveal the process of healing.
This exhibition was made possible alongside The Torch’s program coordinator, Kent Morris and aims to highlight and commemorate its irrefutable accomplishments. The Torch Program provides incarcerated members from Indigenous communities with the tools to express and strengthen their cultural identity through creativity.
Of Gunai, Yorta Yorta, and Gunditjmara descent, Raymond continues drawing inspiration from the traditional designs of the five major clans of his native Gunaikurnai people, the traditional owners of Gippsland, from the coastal areas to the southern slopes of the Victorian Alps. His ceramics pay homage to the shields made by past generations, particularly those that would have been in existence at the time of First Contact. They are not weaponry against the European settlers. Rather, they bear marks of time and display signs of domestic use.
“Working with clay gives me a direction and helps me focus on something positive,” says Raymond. “Each shield is different to the next. I want each piece to have a personality. I want them to represent the elders and carry the wisdom and knowledge like they do; that’s who my shields represent.”
Raymond’s artwork was included in the survey of contemporary art, Melbourne Now, held at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2014; as well as in Wominjeka: A New Beginning, which traced cultural continuities and explored new modes of creative practice in South Eastern Aboriginal art and cultures, and which toured Victorian regional galleries 2015-2017.
Raymond won the Victorian Indigenous Art Award for three-dimensional works at the Ballarat Art Gallery in 2015. His works have been acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria, Shepparton Art Gallery, and the Koorie Heritage Trust, as well as corporate and notable private collections across Australia.