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Wan Dharridji Balert Gumak Kulin Biik

Iluka Sax-Williams

Presented in Season 2 2022

Window Commission
Presented by Arts House

Thursday 19 October – Saturday 31 December
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Arts House
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
North Melbourne

Visual Rating 100%
Wheelchair Accessible

Wan dharridji balert gumak kulin biik is a photographic series that captures the artist standing with strength and resistance within a colonial setting. His face, streaked with ochre, dignifies his connection to his Ancestors and people, conveying the thousands of years of connection to the land and waters. Draping his body Iluka bears his possum skin vest, with elegant burnt patterns of his designs and rich red ochre spreading over the possum skins. The handcrafted design depicts the great connection between land and water.

In English, Wan dharridji balert gumak kulin biik translates to “I stand strong on Kulin land”, and this series is an honouring of Kulin defiance in the face of colonisation. His presence in this space is an act of distruption. At first glance, one may believe that he, nor the ancestors before him, were ever welcomed in. In which structures of wealth, luxury, and privilege were built by the bloodshed and exploitation of Indigenous peoples both past and present. The photos were taken by Brazilian artist Luara Brandao under the creative direction of Iluka.


About the artist

Iluka Sax-Williams is a proud Tibrean (Torres Strait) and Taungurung artist. His broad artistic practice involves acts of cultural reclamation, pyrography, traditional dance, fashion and design. Sax-Williams' love for sharing his culture was born from spending his childhood accompanying his mother to teach Koorie education in early childhood settings. He is dedicated to enhancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation throughout the creative industries and the revitalisation of Aboriginal culture in Victoria.


Creative Direction: Illuka Sax-Williams
Photography: Luara Brandao

Wan dharridji balert gumak kulin biik has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and the City of Melbourne through Arts House.

Hero Image: Luara Brandao
Gallery Images: Anne Moffat