Julie Dowling (artist)

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Julie Dowling
EducationClaremont School of Art, Curtin University, Central Metropolitan College of TAFE
Known forPainting
AwardsMandorla Art Award 2000, National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award 2002

Julie Dowling (born 1969) is an Indigenous Australian artist whose work, in a social realist style, deals with issues of Aboriginal identity. She identifies culturally and politically as a Badimaya First Nation woman.[1]

Early life[edit]

Dowling was born at the King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women in the Perth suburb of Subiaco.[2] Her identical twin sister, Carol, is an academic and radio documentary producer.[3] Their single mother, Veronica, is a Badimaya whose traditional lands are around Paynes Find and Yalgoo in Western Australia's Gascoyne region.[4][5] Along with her mother, she was strongly influenced by her maternal grandmother, Molly, who taught her much about her traditional culture; Molly had been taken from the Yalgoo area by her Irish father at the age of eleven and sent to a Catholic orphanage.[2][4] The twins spent their early childhood with their mother and extended family, including Molly, in the outer Perth suburb of Redcliffe when it was mostly bushland.[2][6] Her mother and the twins constantly moved between public houses around the Perth metropolitan area to escape welfare agencies who tried to take the children away.[2][4] While on train trips to visit their grandmother, their mother would point out people who might be trying to hide their Aboriginality, and would encourage Julie to sketch them while Carol would interview them.[2]

Education and career[edit]

Dowling attended St Francis Xavier School in Armadale and St. Joachim's School in Victoria Park.[2] In 1989 she received a Diploma of Fine Art from the Claremont School of Art, where she was influenced by realist teachers such as Marcus Beilby.[2][7] She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Curtin University in 1992, becoming the first woman in her family to gain a university degree.[6] In 1995, she had her first solo exhibition at Fremantle Arts Centre and received an Associate Diploma in Visual Arts Management at Central Metropolitan College of TAFE.[8]

Her work, in a social realist style, deals with issues of Aboriginal identity, and is informed by the experiences of her community, culture, and family.[6][9][10][11][12]

It is inspired by such traditions as European portraiture and Christian icons, Mexican muralism, Papunya Tula dot painting, and Noongar iconography.[7]


Dowling was a finalist for the Archibald Prize in 2001, 2002, and 2013, along with the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize in 2000 and 2013.[6][13] She won the 2000 Mandorla Art Award and the painting division of the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award in that year, and in 2002, she was recognised as Australia's Most Collectible Artist by the magazine Australian Art Collector.[6][13] In 2006 she received an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from Murdoch University.[13][14]

Selected exhibitions[edit]

Dowling has exhibited in Australia and internationally, including solo exhibitions at:


  1. ^ "About". Julie Dowling's website. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Williams, Gail (30 June 2007). "Art and soul". Perth Now. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Carol Dowling". Earbus Foundation. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Coslovich, Gabriella (31 July 2007). "Truth, in black and white". The Age. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Julie Dowling – Warridah Sovereignty". The Deep End. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 30 June 2004. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e McGrath, Judith (January – March 2002). "Julie Dowling: A Different Way to the Future". Australian Art Collector. No. 19. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Julie Dowling". National Gallery of Victoria. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Julie Dowling". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  9. ^ Julie Dowling joins Michael Reid. Art Collector: Latest Art News. January 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  10. ^ Snell, Ted (2003), "Julie Dowling", Art and Australia, retrieved 5 November 2017
  11. ^ Oakes, Carol (1995), "Julie Dowling: cultural communion", Artlink, 15 (2–3): 62–63, ISSN 0727-1239
  12. ^ Dowling, Julie (Julie Ann) (March 1998), "Grandmother's mob and the stories. [Interview with Julie Dowling by Ryan, Lavinia S.]", Artlink, 18 (1): : 45–47, ISSN 0727-1239
  13. ^ a b c "CV". Julie Dowling's website. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Honorary degree recipients". Murdoch Handbook. Murdoch University. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  15. ^ "WA Now: Julie Dowling - Babanyu". Art Gallery of Western Australia. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Julie Dowling: Malga Gurlbarl - Hard Secret". MutualArt. 12 October 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Yagu Gurlbarl (Big Secret): New Works From Julie Dowling". GRAG. 4 August 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Julie Dowling: Family and Friends". Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery. Retrieved 18 February 2019.

External links[edit]