LM Knowles is an Australian contemporary visual artist and accomplished photographer of Indigenous and European descent. She is currently living between the Champagne-Ardenne region of France and back in her hometown of Wollongong in Australia. She draws on her lived experiences and cross-cultural heritage, which inform and inspire her artworks in digital media, her textile and sculptural pieces and her collages and paintings. She has a strong penchant for surrealism and post-modernist philosophies.
LM has a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Edith Cowan University, Western Australia and Post Graduate Diploma of Art from the Australian National University after winning a research scholarship from the National Museum of Australia in 2006. She is a qualified secondary art and digital media teacher and is currently undertaking a diploma in art therapy. She is the recipient of a number of scholarships for Indigenous arts research and is a member of the prestigious Golden Key International Honour Society.
LM has been exhibiting in Australia since 1989 and internationally since 1993. She was represented in Rome and Assisi, Italy during the Kangaroos Arts Projects in 2015 and 2016. Her work was most recently exhibited in Retro-Perspective in Katooma, New South Wales. Her photographs were exhibited in the 20th Annual International Photo Festival at Montier-en-der, France, where she has been invited to exhibit again in 2017. Her work is held in private, corporate and public collections including City of Bunbury Indigenous Art Collection, Western Australia.
LM has been published a number of times in journals, anthologies and the most recent being Containers of Power: Women with Clever Hands by Dr Louise Hamby 2010, Utber & Patullo Publishing.
In 2007 the artist was injured in the workplace in Canberra, which has affected her life in many unfortunate ways. However, through her art practice and passion for creativity she is discovering the power of healing through the arts. It is her aim to heal through her art practice and to eventually help others using art as therapy and to bridge the cultural divide between European and Indigenous cultures.
Her philosophy is “Incredible art is not about a pretty picture or the artist’s notoriety; it is about who we are, what we have experienced or endured and how our lives are molded. Art is about heart and soul and connections and healing.”
People use the traces of the past to construct social (and political) identity in the present…important to the story of their ancestors’ past and to their sense of identity in the present (Harrison, 2002).*
Like a number of other Australians, I am of Indigenous and European descent. Mixed blood and ancestries; mixed heritage and cultures; combined they make up the essence of my identity. My lineage stems from the Nunga peoples of South Australia, together with the varied European ancestors who immigrated over the last 150 years. My art practice has been driven by ongoing personal desire to seek out traces of my heritage, and to construct an understanding of my identity and ‘place’ in Australia’s present day multicultural society. It has become an unremitting examination of the narratives and stories of Australia’s post‐colonial histories, and the impact they have had on Indigenous culture today; in particular women such as myself.
My textural, collage ‘paintings’ are an exploration of my cross-cultural heritage, of the Native versus the Domestic. I juxtapose natural/native materials found within the Australian landscape with vintage household fabrics and decals from early Australian domestic life. I use red thread representing bloodlines of my ancestral families, to hand-stitch together lace and kangaroo fur, leather and wallpaper; I incorporate the preciousness of opals and pearls together with the weight and toxicity of lead and xanthorrea resin. By layering these materials I am recreating the many complex layers and stories of my multicultural heritage. I am exploring and defining symbols of my identity to create unique hybrid artworks that reflect the wonder and tension of my life as a woman of mixed cultural heritage.
*Harrison, R. (2000). Ngarranggani, Nganungamu, Jalanijarra: ‘Lost Places’, Recursiveness and Hybridity at Old Lamboo Pastoral Station, Southeast Kimberley, WA. Australian Archaeology 58:44-45