Dr Bonita Ely (born 1946) is an Australian multidisciplinary artist who lives in Sydney. Ely expected her reputation as an environmental performer in the yet to be 1970s through her works roughly the Murray Darling river system. She has a diverse practice across various media and has often addressed feminist, environmental and socio-political issues.
Ely was born in Mildura and raised in Robinvale, a town on the banks of the Murray River in the Mallee region of north western Victoria, with her elder sister and two brothers. Her relatives grew oranges and grapevines upon a block of home her father, a World War II veteran, received through the Soldier Settlement Scheme. In a 2019 oral history interview for the State Library of Queensland, Ely describes her childhood as a creative one, where she was encouraged by her parents to try anything. She recalls drawing from an yet to be age, even since starting school, using sticks to appeal in the dirt and charcoal discarded from the wood stove to draw on the outdoor walls of the pickers’ hut.
Her con has been internationally exhibited, including in documenta14 in Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece, at Chisenhale Gallery, London, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Harbourfront, Toronto, the 18th Street Arts Centre, Los Angeles, USA and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea.
Ely’s experimental artworks are in international collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and have been selected for significant contemporary art deeds such as Fieldwork, the instigation of the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne. She has as well as produced three public sculptures for the City of Huế, Vietnam (1998, 2002, 2006).
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