Indigenous artist Josh Muir's latest work will see escaped convict William Buckley resurrected in sculpture form as part of the bi-annual Lorne Sculpture Biennale happening in March.
Buckley lived with the Wathaurong people for a number of years and was a natural subject for Muir's piece which also draws on his previous award-winning print 'Heaven’s Gates'.
“In Heaven’s Gates the central God-like figure symbolises both white and Aboriginal people coming together -- which was similar to William Buckley,” Muir told The Huffington Post Australia.
“He escaped from Sorrento [on the Mornington Peninsula] and worked his way around the coast before meeting the Wathaurong people where he picked up their language and tradition."
Muir said after doing some of his own research, Buckley’s story interested him right away and it didn’t take long to decide he wanted to make Buckley the subject.
“He also plays an important role in the heritage and history in Lorne,” Muir said.
More than 100 of Australia’s most exciting creatives will come together to showcase their work throughout the three-week festival.
Situated along the Great Ocean Road’s famous coastline, the popular Sculpture Trail will return featuring 36 large-scale sculptures, with each artist creating a maquette version of their major work to be separately exhibited in a Maquette Exhibition.
Muir, who is very open about living with depression and addiction said it is through art, music and dance that allows him to appreciate and be less narrow-minded about the world around him.
But it’s when people approach him and tell him their child or younger brother picked him as the Indigenous artist they wanted to research for a school project that his success really hits home.
“That kind of feedback really grounds me. It makes me feel like what I’m doing is actually having some kind of impact on people’s lives,” Muir said.
Muir splits his time between his hometown of Ballarat and Melbourne where he is strongly influenced by street art culture.
“In a way, Melbourne is very similar to New York in terms of the climate and environment -- when it’s cold people shut themselves inside and that’s why Melbourne is such a creative place, it forces people to create a world or a character to entertain their minds,” Muir said.
The Lorne Sculpture Biennale begins March 12, 2016.