Vanessa Russ

Country and cultural memory are the expansive territories traversed by the meandering ink drawings of Vanessa Russ, that powerfully connect her to her place of birth in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.

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Unseasonable Waterhole with Lilies 4, 2022, Indian ink on Fabriano paper, 56 x 76cm
Unseasonable Waterhole with Lilies 4, 2022, Indian ink on Fabriano paper, 56 x 76cm | Vanessa Russ

Vanessa Russ is a Ngarinyin/Gija woman from the Kimberley Region of Western Australia.

Country and cultural memory are the expansive territories traversed by her expressive and uninhibited ink and charcoal drawings. Living far from where she grew up, Vanessa powerfully channels childhood memories of the rivers, gorges and flooded plains of her birth place in her art practice.

‘The memorial DNA of return visits are replenished and revitalised on the paper, as if country is speaking through me, like a song or meditation. It’s the creation of cyclones and torrents of flooded rivers that submerge the silt and lift it back up to take it further down its pathway to the sea.’

Her works are represented in Artbank, Kerry Stokes Collection, Wesfarmers, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University and the Janet Holmes a Court Collection.

In 2014 Vanessa was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, in which she investigated the effects of national identity in mainstream art museums on Indigenous populations. Routledge published her book, A History of Australian Aboriginal Art in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, in 2021.