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5 facts about Ellen Jose

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By Gwylym Owen

Ellen Jose (1951 – 2 June 2017) was an Australian original artist and photographer She was a Torres Strait Islander descendant from Murray, Darnley and Horn Islands who lived in Melbourne in the song of husband Joseph Toscano.

Ellen Jose completed a Certificate of Applied Art at Seven Hills Art College, Brisbane in 1976. After distressing to Melbourne in 1977 she completed a Diploma of Fine Art at Preston Institute of Technology in 1978. In 1979 she was awarded a Diploma of Education from Melbourne State College.

After graduating Ellen Jose worked in imitation of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Service. She has worked as a lecturer at Monash University (from 1986), Deakin University (1991–1994). In 1996 she was appointed to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council.

Ellen Jose’s photographic and printmaking works are held and exhibited by the National Gallery of Australia, Australian National Gallery, Canberra; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Australian War Memorial, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; National Museum of Australia, Canberra; State Library of Victoria, Melbourne; State Library of New South Wales, Sydney; and many more collections. Since 1987, José has held roughly sixteen solo exhibitions, including ten past William Mora Galleries.

In 1986 Ellen Jose participated in the NAIDOC ’86 Exhibition of Aboriginal and Islander Photographers at the Aboriginal Artists Gallery, Sydney. During 1985 and 1986 she contributed distinctive logos and billboard designs for the Australian Anarchist Centenary Celebrations held in Melbourne vis-а-vis 1 May 1986.

During 1988 Jose had photographs included in the Inside Black Australia exhibition that toured Australia.

In 1993 Jose collaborated bearing in mind Marshall White on a 2-minute 40-second lightheartedness video, In the Balance, incorporating cultural imagery and music from Ellen Jose’s Indigenous background. It was one of the antediluvian examples of an indigenous artist embracing digital and computer breeziness for their art.

Her 1997 sculpture Tanderrum can be found in the Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park, and was restored in January 2008.

From 2002 she attended the 3 December anniversary of the Eureka Rebellion in Ballarat, and photographed the anniversary events.

In 2008 Ellen Jose featured in an exhibition of modern indigenous art at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne . She was then a committee zealot and photographer of the Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner Commemoration Committee.

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