Gung at Melbourne Museum
Kelly Koumalatsos has been working with possum skin for close to 30 years, integrating traditional Wemba Wemba and Wergaia possum skin cloak-making with western screenprinting to share stories of her ancestors’ strength and determination. She literally puts possum skins through a printing press to create her unique, deeply meaningful garments.
Her 1800s-era blouse with possum fur print won the prestigious Koorie Art Award last year, while her other works have been shown by Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Yarra Arts, Maroondah City Council and the City of Melbourne Arts and Heritage Collection.
Combining the perspectives of pre-colonial culture and modern life, the artist’s prints and garments will be on display for nearly six months during Gung | create, make, do, love, her new exhibition at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum.
Using a technique called uka ngalung wooleh (“to paint with possum”), Koumalatsos makes historically and culturally significant garments inspired by photographs of her ancestors while using the medium of possum skin to symbolise cultural identity and protection.
Koumalatsos works across four locations on the Bellarine Peninsula, including two school campuses, at the Queenscliff Gallery & Workshop and her own home studio. Her award-winning blouse was inspired by a photograph of her ancestors, while possum skin itself ties back to its crucial use as a warming garment during the cold months.
Sat 12th December, 2020 – Sun 30th May, 2021