Yalingwa First Peoples Artist Fellowship Awarded

06 February 2023

Mutti Mutti, Wamba Wamba, Yorta Yorta and Boonwurrung woman Maree Clarke has been awarded the prestigious Yalingwa Fellowship, a $60,000 award for a Senior First Peoples artist living and working in Victoria.

Three women in a row smiling at camera
Announcing the 2023 Yalingwa Fellow, 6 February 2023. Left to right: Jessica Clark (2023 Yalingwa Curator, ACCA), Hannah Presley (Yalingwa Directions Circle Member and inaugural Yalingwa Curator), Maree Clarke (2023 Yalingwa Fellow). Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne.

The Fellowship celebrates Ms Clarke’s outstanding contribution to First Peoples creative practice and will support her to undertake research and development and create ground-breaking new work.

Based in Naarm/Melbourne, Ms Clarke grew up in Northwest Victoria. With a creative career spanning more than three decades, she is recognised as a pivotal figure in the reclamation of southeast Australian First Peoples art practices, notably for her work making traditional possum skin cloaks and kangaroo teeth and river reed necklaces.

In addition to being a teacher, curator and mentor, Ms Clarke has shown her work nationally and internationally including in a major solo exhibition at the NGV in 2021 and exhibitions at the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Yalingwa, a Woiwurrung word meaning both ‘day’ and ‘light’ is a program backed by the Victorian Government that’s designed to celebrate and strengthen First Peoples visual arts in Victoria. It was developed in collaboration with Victoria’s First Peoples arts sector and launched in 2017.

Delivered in partnership with the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and TarraWarra Museum of Art, Yalingwa includes the Fellowship, the employment of First People’s curators, and the development and presentation of a major exhibition of First Peoples art.

Maree Clarke is the third artist to receive the fellowship, with the inaugural and second awarded to trailblazing artists Destiny Deacon (2018) and Yhonnie Scarce (2020).

The next Yalingwa exhibition titled Between Waves opens at ACCA in July. Curated by Jessica Clark, who was appointed curator through a highly competitive process, the exhibition will include new work by Maree Clarke alongside new commissions by leading First Peoples artists: Dean Cross, Brad Darkson, Matthew Harris, James Howard, Hayley Millar Baker, Jazz Money, Cassie Sullivan and Mandy Quadrio.

For more information on Yalingwa, visit