My next story to celebrate Australia Day is about an exceptional woman. She is an artist, an advocate for the rights of the aboriginal people and also a very clever curator. Recently, Jenny Fraser has decided to move from making art and digital films into traditional and natural healing.
I first met Jenny in Bundaberg during my curatorial project “Pacific Storms Contemporary Art Exhibition“.
Jenny Fraser is a digital native working within a fluid screen-based practice. Because of the diverse creative media Fraser uses, much of her work defies categorization, taking iconic and everyday symbols of Australian life and places them into a context that questions the values they represent. With a laconic sense of humour she picks away at the fabric of our society, exposing contradictions, absurdities, and denial. Her practice has also been partly defined through a strong commitment to Artist / Curating as an act of sovereignty and emancipation.
A Murri, she was born in Mareeba, Far North Queensland in 1971 and her old people originally hailed from Yugambeh Country in the Gold Coast Hinterland on the South East Queensland / Northern New South Wales border. She has completed a Master of Indigenous Wellbeing at Southern Cross University in Lismore, New South Wales and is currently completing a PhD in the Art of Aboriginal healing and Decolonisation at Batchelor Institute in the Northern Territory. Jenny is the eldest of three girls.
Jenny spent her early years with one of her sisters, driving across Australia. This is where she learnt to be comfortable with the lifestyle, be that in the Australian bush, city or by the ocean.
“I have always known that I would be an artist. Although I am a trained Art / Film and Media Educator, I resigned from that in 2000. The artists lifestyle suits me much better.”
As a child, Jenny had a keen interest in many cultural approaches towards different lifestyle choices, practising and maintaining traditional knowledges, and relaxation techniques.
The curator’s transition into Natural medicine was a defining moment for her when she was making films and speaking with some of the healers in natural medicine. Jenny felt that was something that greatly interested her, she had only realised it when she spent more time with the people in that natural medicine.
“This awareness became more solid for me, when I worked on some films and witnessed the way people work so hard in that industry, which often drives them to sickness. But some have learnt from the hard work and have opened their own businesses in Natural medicine instead”.
Jenny is also a spearhead for Aboriginal Media Arts, founding cyberTribe online Gallery in 1999 and the Blackout Collective in 2002. More recently she was the first Aboriginal Curator to present a Triennial exhibition in Australia: ‘the other APT’ coinciding and responding to the Asia Pacific Triennial which was then accepted for inclusion into the 2008 Biennale of Sydney.
She has travelled extensively and completed residency programs from remote communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory to the Rocky Mountains in Canada and also Raw Space and New Flames in Brisbane.
The best way to see some of Jenny’s work is to click on some of the links below: