MCA Djurali Youth Art Careers Workshop with Jonathan Jones

Jonathan Jones c/o Tim Melvile Gallery, New Zealand.

Jonathan Jones c/o Tim Melvile Gallery, New Zealand.

The MCA’s Djurali Youth Art Careers Workshop is a free program offered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in years 10–12 who are interested in undertaking a tertiary degree in Fine Arts.

Djurali means ‘to grow’ in the language of the Gadigal people, the traditional owners of the land and waters the MCA is situated upon.

The MCA’s Djurali program enables students to gain valuable knowledge about the art world by hearing from successful arts professionals, through a series of workshops over two or four days.

Keith Munro, MCA Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs, works closely with schools to develop the workshops, linking exhibitions involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and art practices with the programmed format of Djurali.

Sydney-based installation artist Jonathan Jones, whose work is currently on display as part of the MCA Collection: Luminous exhibition, will speak to students at the next Djurali, Tuesday 23 – Friday 26 June.

Here, Jones shares some insights into his own career.

If you could give your younger self any career advice, what would it be?

“I would definitely encourage my younger myself to spend more time with my grandparents, great-grandparents and elders, spend the time asking them more questions and recording their stories and having cups of tea. I would also want to spend more time drawing and looking at the world, and lastly I would let myself know that its ok to be different and to pursue my own ideas.”

What was a turning point in your career?

“All the major turning points in my career are marked by working with and getting to know great elders and artists who have always been so generous, encouraging and inspiring. People like Michael Riley, Aunty Esme Timbery, Uncle Roy Barker, Lorraine Northey Connelly, Uncle Chicka Madden, Aunty Joy Murphy-Wandin, and Aunty Yvonne Koolmarie (just to name a few) have all deeply effected my practice.”

How do you stay motivated and engaged as an artist?

“The projects I’m lucky enough to work on keep me motivated. Being an artist is an enormous privilege and working with the different places, histories and communities for each project brings a whole set of new ideas and issues to deal with each time. Being able to tell these stories and activate spaces is really engaging and exciting, while the responsibilities to tell these stories is also a key motivator.”

What are you working on right now?

“I’m currently working on a range of projects including community art projects and major institution projects. A key project I’m working on is for the Kaldor Public Art Projects. This project looks at the Sydney Garden Palace of 1879 that burnt down in 1882. This major building housed, amongst other things, Aboriginal cultural material, which was lost in the fire. The project looks at the idea of cultural loss, which is faced by many communities around the world, and how memory, often embedded in the landscape, and inspire us.”

More about the Djurali Youth Art Careers Workshops

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Published: 29 May 2015