Meet the Artists From the James C. Sourris AM Collection

25 February – 9 July 2023
slq Gallery, level 2

Meet the Artists is a series of intimate conversations with 35 of Australia’s most acclaimed artists and artworkers drawn from the James C Sourris AM Artist Interview Collection. Curated by Julie Ewington, an authority on Australasian art, experience insights, personal  objects, and rarely seen contemporary artworks in person.


Portrait of Gail Mabo

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo artist panel discussion

Wed 24 Aug · 6–7:15pm
In celebration of Legacy: Reflections on Mabo exhibition, we invite you to join us for a conversation that celebrates the man behind the game-changing Native Title Act, Eddie Koiki Mabo, and the ongoing influence and impact he has had on Australian society and culture.  This travelling exhibition brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in the spirit of reconciliation, 30 years after this historic achievement. In this discussion learn about the curatorial directions from Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts director, Kate O'Hara. The panel will include reflections from exhibition co-curator and daughter of Koiki Mabo, Gail Mabo and Brisbane contributing artists Judy Watson and Katina Davidson. This free event will also be livestreamed from State Library of Queensland. Register to join us onsite or online and be part of this exciting event.   Facilitator Kate O’Hara is the Director of Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, an independent platform for contemporary and experimental arts practice operating on Wulgurukaba and Bindal Country (Townsville, North Queensland).  Kate has over 15 years in industry experience as a curator and arts manager in institutional, not-for-profit, commercial and independent arts environments.   Prior to working at Umbrella, Kate managed Maningrida Art & Culture, a large and prestigious Indigenous art centre in Arnhem land. Previous to this Kate worked with a number of arts organisations in South East Asia, including Romeet Contemporary Art Space in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as their inaugural Curator and Manager.  She has a proven track record in growing arts organisations in the not-for-profit sector as well as improving returns to artists and growing recognition for artistic movements. Speakers Gail Mabo is a multidisciplinary artist working across sculpture, installation, printmaking and painting.  Most recently Mabo has been experimenting with cast bronze, empowered by her 2021 residency at Urban Art Projects.  Her work often connects Torres Strait Islander Knowledge and political histories including that of her own family to manifest contemporary advocacy.  Storytelling and sharing Culture are important to her work. In 2018 she co-curated the exhibition, Legacy: Reflections on Mabo. This exhibition premiered in Townsville her hometown and is on a four-year Australian tour. Her most recent exhibition, House of Cards, Mabo mined her personal and emotional archive to speak to the socio-political climate of three generations of powerful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.  This immersive installation premiered at Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts in Townsville in 2021 and will tour to newly opened Rockhampton Museum of Art later this year. In recent years she has been commissioned to create major new works for Tarnanthi and AGNSW.  Both commissions were subsequently collected.  Her work is also held in Art Gallery of New South Wales,  Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, National Gallery Australia and Artbank among other collections of national significance. Judy Watson was born in Mundubbera, Queensland. Judy Watson’s Aboriginal matrilineal family is from Waanyi country in north-west Queensland. The artist’s process evolves by working from site and memory, revealing Indigenous histories, following lines of emotional and physical topography that centre on particular places and moments in time. Spanning painting, printmaking, drawing, sculpture and video, her practice often draws on archival documents and materials, such as maps, letters and police reports, to unveil institutionalised discrimination against Aboriginal people. Her work is included in several significant Australian and international collections, including all of Australia’s state institutions, the National Gallery of Australia, the Tokyo National University of Technology, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the British Museum, and MCA/ TATE. Watson is an Adjunct Professor at Griffith University, and in 2018, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Art History by the University of Queensland. Katina Davidson (Kullilli/Yuggera) is an artist, writer, and Curator of Indigenous Australian Art, at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane. Her creative practice aims to draw attention to little known local histories, especially in relation to her Indigenous communities and family. She has been part of group exhibitions 'Legacy: Reflections on Mabo', curated by Gail Mabo and the Umbrella Studios, Townsville, 2019; 'Maiwar' Vibrant Laneways exhibition, curated by Blaklash Collective for Brisbane City Council, 2018; 'Gathering Stands', curated by Freja Carmichael at Redland Art Gallery, 2016; and participated in the South Stradbroke Island Indigenous Art Camp, run by the City of Gold Coast in 2014, where she returned in 2021 as the writer in residence for its new location in the Gold Coast hinterland. Legacy: Reflections on Mabo is a travelling exhibition presented by Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts and toured by Museums & Galleries Queensland.
Blair Athol recut by Julie Barratt 2016 Australian Library of Art State Library of Queensland

Artist's Books White Gloves School Experience

Wed 12 Oct · 10–11:30am + 3 more events
Artist's Books White Gloves School Experience  Senior secondary students and teachers are invited to investigate State Library's fantastic collection of artists' books in this exclusive, hands-on white gloves experience! This experience will encompass a 45-minute artists' book white gloves tour followed by a 45-minute hands-on artist's book making workshop. Large groups will be split into 2 to ensure maximum engagement for students and teachers. Visit our comprehensive artists’ book education resource on Curriculum Connect for ideas prior to your visit! *Note: Please adhere to booking capacity of up to 30 students per booking plus accompanying teachers/adults.   Contact us in advance on or (07) 3840 7666 if your group has special needs.
Group of people looking at artworks in exhibition

Legacy Curator’s Tour with Jonathan McBurnie

Sat 24 Sep · 10:30–11:15am
Join co-curator Jonathan McBurnie (Director of Rockhampton Museum of Art) for a curatorial tour of exhibition Legacy: Reflections on Mabo. Legacy: Reflections on Mabo exhibition celebrates the man behind the game-changing Native Title Act, Eddie Koiki Mabo, and the ongoing influence and impact he has had on Australian society and culture. Curated by Gail Mabo, Dr Jonathan McBurnie and Kellie Williams, this travelling exhibition brings together 24 Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in the spirit of reconciliation, after this historic achievement. Jonathan McBurnie is an artist and writer based in Rockhampton, where he is the Director of the Rockhampton Museum of Art, which is situated on Darumbal country. McBurnie is a former Director of Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, where he developed and co-curated the Legacy: Reflections on Mabo touring exhibition. Tours are free and space is limited. Book now to reserve your place.

About the collection

The James C Sourris AM Collection consists of interviews with significant Australian artists and figures in the art world. It is a growing collection that provides insight and context to the practice of some of our most respected artists.

Each artist is profiled via three distinct recordings: a full-length interview between the interviewer and the artists, a 30 minute version, optimised for education purposes and a shorter version, generally 5 to 9 minutes in length that gives a quick taste of that person's artistic practice.


These education resources encourage students to delve into the lives and works of contemporary Australian artists.

From the blog

Portrait of an Artist - Judy Watson

16 July 2018
Judy Watson, photographed by Richard Neylan-NolanJudy Watson is a Waanyi woman, born in Mundubbera in 1959, who has lived and worked in Queensland most of her life.  While the stories passed down to her by her grandmother formed the foundation upon which all her work has been based, a visit in 1990 to Riversleigh Station in the heart of Waanyi country in north western Queensland and the place where her grandmother grew up, was pivotal in cementing Judy's connection to her family and their ancestral sites and stories - becoming a touchstone for her art practice from then on. Riversleigh Station, courtesy of Tomas Maltby & Encyclopaedia BritannicaJudy's work often tackles difficult subjects, inviting viewers to contemplate images layered with meaning and messages of concealed histories, including uncomfortable truths about Aboriginal massacres or desecration of sacred sites.  Judy has been quoted as saying she hopes the message "leaks in like a deadly poison dart and implodes in the viewer, leaking its contents slowly".While Judy trained as a printmaker, her practice now spans a variety of media including drawing, painting, video, installation and public art commissions.  She is now one of Queensland's, and Australia's most renowned artists.  Her work is held by many major Australian galleries, including National Gallery of Australia and the Museum of Contemporary Art, and internationally by institutions such as the British Museum, Tate Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  In 2006, she was one of eight Aboriginal artists whose work featured in the Musee du Quai Branly project in Paris, and just last year, her work 'Tow Row' was installed at the front entrance of the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane.  State Library of Queensland also holds some of Judy's work. in our collection.On Friday, 10 August 2018, Judy will be a special guest and the focus of State Library's 'Portrait of an Artist' series, featuring the screening of an extended interview recorded as part of the James C. Sourris AM Portrait of an Artist Collection and followed by a Q&A session with the artist.  This is a free event, open to everyone.  Bookings via our website.

Portrait of an Artist featuring Anne Wallace

22 September 2016
Anne Wallace, That was long ago (detail), 2005, oil on canvas.The Queensland Library Foundation invites you to the James C. Sourris AM Collection: Portrait of an Artist featuring Anne Wallace.  Anne Wallace is one of the most recent additions to the James C. Sourris AM Collection of contemporary Australian artist interviews, which are part of the Australian Library of Art at the State Library of Queensland.Anne's work is influenced by a number of factors including the differing Queensland architectures she observed in her grandparent's houses, the time periods before she was born and when she was growing up, books and films for example those about mid-century America and music such as "The Smiths".  A lot of Anne's works refers to something, such as a poem, and although you can appreciate the painting without knowing the reference, knowing the reference allows you to fully appreciate the painting.    Many of Anne's works have alluded to crimes and scenes of crimes and she is currently interested in witches and historic "old crones".  Anne hopes that each of her paintings is recognisable as hers but that each is "unique" with a different image and feeling.Following the screening of Anne’s interview, she will be available for discussion with the audience.The event takes place on Friday the 30th of September between 6:30-7:30 pm in SLQ Auditorium 2, level 2, State Library of Queensland.  Book now at  We look forward to seeing you there. Bec Kilner, Published Content Technician 

Madonna Staunton ‘Pennant’

3 September 2014
Inspired by a current QAGOMA exhibition  Madonna Staunton : Out of a Clear Blue Sky, our guest blogger artist Normana Wight reviews Pennant an artists' book from the collections of the Australian Library of Art.This is a book of some size and weight; in timber and paper, it is a sculptural ‘objet d’art.’The shape suggests the pennant of the title. If it were in your own house, it would probably sit upright and open on your mantelpiece, so that you would experience its poetry and message as you walk past – from left to right(.?.)As happens with some artists’ books, it arrives in a box, then opens out into a small scale complete exhibition. Just for you to view.It strikes me as a good idea to include in this blog, the artists own description of the works’ evolution.“Books often evolve as a response to found material chosen to  act as covers, sometimes sourced  from derelict furniture. This adds a sculptural element to the concept. In the instance of Pennant the inner folds mimic the profile of the boards, playing with the theme of reverie in repose. Pennant perhaps refers to a Dream Ship.”Viewer/readers can not only experience this enigmatic and exciting book, at the State Library, but over the road at The Queensland Art Gallery there is a new exhibition of Madonna’s work in which she has returned to painting which, like all her work, is rich in poetry, mysticism,  and the world of the mind.Madonna Staunton interview: The James C Sourris AM Collection

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