Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher AO "Thanakupi", Alison Milyika Carroll, Jennifer Mullet, Anne Thompson, Naomi Hobson, Anne Nginyangka Thompson, Vera Cooper, Raymond Young, Kunmnara Carroll, Irwin Lewis, Tjimpuna Williams, Ngunytjima Carroll (collaborator), Rupert jack, Kunmanara Ingkatji, Tanya Flower, Eddie Puruntatameri, Wanapati Yunupiŋu

Surfaced Stories emerges from the SAM Collection through what began as a ‘conversation in clay’ surrounding approaches to ceramic making. The patterns, motifs, and designs—often marked in sgraffito or scratched surfaces—bring to the fore stories by seventeen Indigenous artists of different generations and across regions of Australia.

This exhibition offers a glimpse into SAM’s growing archive of diverse stories held within our collection. The artists draw from both individual and intergenerational pools of knowledge, whose depths span over more than sixty thousand years. Their approaches vary between hand and wheel-built forms; from carving with sgraffito and linear marks through glazes and underglazes, to reaching beyond ceramics with mark making on found materials.

Many of the artists represented in Surfaced Stories are nationally and internationally acclaimed, and have been past finalists of SAM’s prestigious biennial Indigenous Ceramic Award. Their work has been presented here to let the surfaces of the selected works draw us in, with the purpose of continuing these conversations in clay.

Image: Surfaced Stories, (installation view) (2023), Shepparton Art Museum, 2023. Photography: Leon Schoots.