Elisa Jane Carmichael
Lives and works between Brisbane and Minjerribah.
Quandamooka woman Elisa Jane Carmichael is a multidisciplinary artist who honours her salt-water heritage by incorporating materials collected from Country, embracing traditional techniques, and expressing contemporary adaptations through painting, weaving, and textiles. She comes from a family of artists and curators, and works closely with her female kin to revive, nurture, and preserve cultural knowledge and practice. Elisa is a descendant of the Ngugi people, one of three clans who are the traditional custodians of Quandamooka, also known as Yoolooburrabee—people of the sand and sea. Quandamooka Country comprises the waters and lands of and around Moreton Bay, south-east Queensland, Australia.
Her practice explores the beauty of nature and surrounding environments, drawing inspiration from her cultural identity and heritage. Elisa has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia); and a Master of Fine Arts, QUT (Brisbane). She has created woven wearable collections that have been included in Cairns Indigenous Art Fair Fashion program and Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, Virginia, USA.
Recent group exhibitions include Tarnanthi 2020: open hands at the Art Gallery of South Australia; long water: fibre stories (Institute of Modern Art, 2020); Piinpi: Contemporary Indigenous Fashion (Bendigo Art Gallery and National Museum of Australia, 2020-21); Two Sisters a singular vision (Queensland Art Gallery, 2020); Weaving the Way (The University of Queensland Art Museum, 2019) and Transits and Returns (Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada, 2019). Carmichael participated in the Women’s Wealth Project as part of the Asia Pacific Triennial 9 (APT9) at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in 2018. Elisa Jane Carmichael has also been a finalist in the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) exhibition in 2018 and again in 2021. Recently collaborating with Judy Watson on her public art commission nerung ballun (Nerang River), freshwater, saltwater for the new Home of the Arts (HOTA) Gallery on the Gold Coast (Qld, Australia), Carmichael has also revealed her first public art installation, Water is Life (2021) at South Bank parklands (Brisbane, Qld).
Elisa Jane Carmichael is further developing her practice through both new techniques and materials acknowledging, nurturing, and protecting her culture and the resources of Quandamooka Country. Her unique explorations into contemporary Quandamooka weaving and vivacious use of colour and materials, are becoming more distinctly recognised by esteemed industry colleagues across the country. Elisa draws upon her practice to reflect on visual ancestral experiences of Quandamooka Bujong Djara (Mother Earth), to share the beauty, power, and importance of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) yesterday, today, and tomorrow—ngayigany, ngayiganya, ngayigawa (seen, seeing, will see).