"You don’t want to become a box within a box within a box, bound by other entities by what you are or are not." Treahna Hamm

Dr. Treahna Hamm is an internationally renowned Yarrawonga/Mulwala contemporary Aboriginal artist. She rejects the hierarchy of artforms as a Western bourgeois construct and embraces a multi-disciplinary practice that works to reinforce and reaffirm Aboriginal culture.
Possum skin cloak maker, printmaker, sculptor, weaver, and painter, Treahna allows the medium to take her on a journey, exploring the intersection of identity, belonging, culture and history.
Her approach is organic and fluid, preferring to “leave space for creativity. It’s best when it flows from your mind down your arm and out.“
We spoke about vivid memories of being taken to galleries and seeing “objects you weren’t allowed to touch, frozen in time, detached from place and culture, with someone else telling you how to understand it and that it’s not for you to define.” Poignant vignettes like this dot our conversation as I piece together my thoughts about Treahna and her practice. She is inquisitive and inspiring. Her work is refined and generous with knowledge. “Our Elders have gone through so much. That keeps us going; To tell.”
My hope is that we are all listening.

When the NAIDOC 2018 theme was released, Alyce from Murray arts and Bethany from burraja gallery brainstormed a program that would see local aboriginal women learn new skills and then exhibit in a group show at the gallery.
Treahna was asked to facilitate the workshops and share her skills with the other local women.
“As part of each others knowledge system, I didn’t see myself just as the facilitator. It was a chance for me and all the women to connect, with family and community. “
The exhibition “Because of Her, We Can!” opens on Thursday 12 July, 5:30pm at burraja gallery. We hope to see you all there to support and celebrate with us.

Photo and words: Kellie Sutherland

 

Below: Treahna Hamm (b. 1965), Yorta Yorta bush medicine first aid kit, 2017 Paperbark, kurrajong pods,
Lomandra, she-oak pods, bark ink, riverbed clay, charcoal, billabong sediment, raffia,
bottlebrush wood and bloom, ash, possum bone, mussel shell,
black wattle bark, stringybark, river sand, Eucalyptus leaves, tree bark, sap.
© Treahna Hamm. Medical History Museum