Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi - Exhibiting Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art

Harry J. Wedge

Potent and Confronting Paintings

1956 - 2012 Cowra , New South Wales

Harry J. Wedge was born on Erambie Mission, Cowra and was a descendant of the Wiradjuri people. In this short period of time, Wedge had received considerable acclaim for his potent and confronting paintings as he emerged as a highly respected urban Aboriginal artist.

While some of Wedge’s works are strongly autobiographical and anecdotal, nostalgically recounting happier memories of his life on Erambie Mission, many are ascerbic political statements, forcefully expressing the devastating impact of white colonisation of tribal Aborigines and the brutal suppression of their culture. In particular, Wedge expressed his frustration at the enforced integration of indigenous communities on to Christian missions and the Eurocentric education system that attempted to indoctrinate young Aboriginal children with European history and European value systems, effectively denying them access to their own cultural heritage. Wedge also dealt with pertinent, contemporary social issues that effect a broad cross-section of people from diverse cultural and racial backgrounds. The A.I.D.S virus, domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse and the systematic slaughter of Australian native animals were several of a myriad of social evils which Harry J. Wedge exposed in his work.

Many of Wedge’s paintings are intensely coloured and strongly expressionistic in style and are populated by images of the Wiradjuri Spirit Man, a figure who is characterised by a halo of radiating hair. More recently Wedge composed his paintings with an intricate network of dots which is a direct reference to tribal Aboriginal art. Wedge’s works are accompanied by stories which are of utmost importance to the artist. The transcription of the artists own words when describing his paintings, ensure that they are not misunderstood by the white audience.

Harry J. Wedge’s works were selected for inclusion in the Australian Perspecta 1993 and an exhibition of his paintings was shown at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1993, following his four week residency there. Wedge was awarded the Australian Aboriginal Fellowship by the New South Ministry for the Arts and he is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria and Queensland Art Gallery collections.

ACGA - Australian Commercial Galleries Association