Maree Clarke, Mutti Mutti/Yorta Yorta/Boon Wurrung, Maribyrnong river reed and feather necklace, 2019
This river reed and feather necklace is a superb example of Maree Clarke’s long engagement with reviving traditional cultural practices. As visually magnificent as this necklace is, her work is more than an object-based expression of culture. It is a political act, and the process of making – of gathering, preparing, considering and carefully assembling materials – actively regenerates knowledge and skills. The astounding 50-metre length of this necklace reflects the extent to which traditional cultural knowledge and skills have been lost. In response to this historical suppression, Clarke is generous in her own art practice, sharing her expertise with family members and collaborators alike in creating artworks.
This artwork and ‘Portrait of Molly Mahoney’, also by Maree Clarke, were part of the same commission. They are both displayed in a key location within the newly refurbished ground floor of the Melbourne Town Hall Administration Building.