‘Marlipinyini Milawini’ The Painter of Light
Internationally celebrated Aboriginal artist A. Professor Wayne Quilliam is one of Australia’s pre-eminent modern-day storytellers, curators, and cultural advisors. His award-winning career includes the coveted NAIDOC Indigenous Artist of the Year, National Photographic Portrait Award, Human Rights Award, Walkley Award, City of Melbourne Art Award, British Journal of Photography Award and nominated as a Master of Photography by National Geographic.
Wayne’s work transcends the confines of a traditional ethnographic narrative through multi-sensory art, film and sound instillation's. Shaped by culture, society and history, every creation is an inclusive, exquisitely realised artwork speaking of connection and isolation, of loss and discovery and importantly, relativity.
“Imagine a complex evolutionary society with continuous connection to a belief system that pre-dates modern comprehension. Tribes of individuals that base their conscious existence on ‘Creator Spirits’, entities traveling the earth forging rivers, mountains and living beings whilst imparting them with knowledge of law, culture and kinship, which modern society has labelled the ‘Dreaming’. Diagrammatically, these interconnecting “Dreaming” narratives forged by the spirits, a myriad of transecting pathways intersected by hubs to create complex and intricate patterning. The “Dreaming” is of a morphological nature, constantly shifting concepts and evolutionary principles intertwined with changing environments and sophisticated ideals”, Wayne contextualises.
Photographer, artist, film maker, author, and cultural adviser, his 30 years’ experience working in rural, remote and urban communities across the globe has allowed him to conceptualise, design, create and curate over 300 exhibitions across the globe. He specialises in creating interactive presentations including digital projections on buildings, in galleries or public spaces and has delivered over 500 keynote addresses, artist talks, lectures, public seminars and thousands of interviews related to contemporary and traditional culture in Cuba, Vietnam, Egypt, Indonesia and Bolivia.
Collaborating with Department of Foreign Affairs for more than 20 years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, USA and South America on numerous projects Wayne’s diverse skills as modern day storyteller has seen him featured at events including the G’Day series in the USA, creating interactive Human Rights exhibitions at the United Nations in Geneva and New York. Developing cultural exchanges in Indonesia, mentoring Indigenous people at the Festival of Pacific Arts, visiting Professor at Universities and public educational institutions internationally.
Wayne currently has three exhibitions travelling the globe, ‘Lowanna’ meaning in traditional Aboriginal language ‘Beautiful woman’. The evolutionary series melds indigenous spirituality and connection to country onto the human form; art reviews lauded this series as the new movement in Aboriginal creation when it opened at the Museum of Young Art in Vienna.
‘Towindri’ meaning “where we walk” debuted at Qubbet el Ghouri, Al Azhar in Cairo, Egypt at the historic meeting between PM Kevin Rudd and President Mubarak. This unique series of work is a collection of landscape and texture images from across Australia and projected onto the Palace and surrounding buildings. One of the Middle East’s most distinguished art institutions has since acquired the collection.
Cuban President Raul Castro opened Wayne’s 50-piece collection at Citadel De San Francisco, Havana Cuba after the Cuban ministry encountered his visit to the Cumbre Tajin Festival in Mexico as cultural ambassador the previous year. The exhibition was extended by six months due to its popularity.
Wayne is the proud co-owner of Australia’s first Indigenous wine label Mt Yengo which recently began exporting to the USA. The enterprise is now stocked in Coles throughout Australia and have begun to export to Europe and the USA.
His book ‘Culture is Life’, a photo documentary on contemporary Indigenous culture published by Hardie Grant was launched in 2021 and currently developing the second iteration.
Wayne curated ‘Connection’ with Grande Experience, creators of Van Gogh Alive, Monet & Friends and Leonardo da Vinci. ‘Connection’ is arguably the most significant and ambitious Indigenous cultural experience ever undertaken in Australia - a very large scale multi-sensory experience on Australia’s first people’s art and culture from all over the country. Using state of the art technology including large quantities of HD projection, cinematic surround sound, synchronised with evocative aromas, touch interactive areas. Wayne liaised with more than 100 traditional and contemporary artists for the show and is developing the next show for an overseas launch.
Headlining the 2022 Vivid Festival of Light in Sydney, Wayne’s creations flowed across the contours of the infamous Sydney Harbour Bridge. These evocative artworks lit up the night sky as they projected onto the steel infrastructure and preparations are afoot to take the show to Europe.
He recently won the City of Melbourne Art Award for his painting of a traditional songman and will be included in his next exhibition at Cooee Gallery in Sydney.
Wayne is currently working with leading fashion designers Jaton and Italian Fashion house KP Kambumi to expand on his 2021 collection that was a finalist in the National Indigenous Fashion Awards and will be launched at fashion week in Milan, Italy.
A.Professor Wayne Quilliam