Kumirrigan Dreaming

I’m not one for words. My vocabulary doesn’t do me any favours when I’m trying to articulate my artworks. I don’t have any great theories about the art I make, and really see it as a reflection on my life lived. I was always Ngarigu, but adoption saw me grow up away from my culture, dislocated from it. I would spend my life trying to get back to it, to find my own way home. My tribal name is Ngurran (Emu) and it was given to me in recent years. It marked a reconnection that my soul had longed for. The male Emu sits on the eggs and raises the Emu chicks, a gender-bending of prescribed binaries. I paint my Ngarigu kin creatures, the most powerful being the alpine Dingo, also the most misunderstood creature, getting in the way of colonial agricultural progress. It has become a symbol of my queerness, which is often seen as a menace to heterosexual family norms and a threat to the status quo. I added Crowe to my name to honour one of my ancestors, little knowing that the Crow is a family totem and even a creator being of the Kulin Nation where I find myself living. I have often included crows in my art, and my encounters with them are cherished moments of staying in the present. They are always a good omen. I’ve recently painted the Corroboree Frog, another endemic species of my Country. The alpine Dingo and the Corroboree Frog are both on the edge of extinction, and I honour their lives and struggles. In this selection of artworks, I have some queer art heroes, big influencers, cultural warriors, collaborators, friends and some of my own creations. I hope you enjoy delving into a bit of what makes me tick as a person and an artist.



Title Image:

Artist Peter Waples-Crowe wearing Ngarigo Queen – Cloak of Queer Visibility, 2018,
at the opening of A Lightness of Spirit is the Measure of Happiness, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 2018,
curated by Hannah Presley
Photo: Jacqui Shelton. Courtesy of the artist and ACCA

Peter Waples-Crowe is a queer Ngarigu artist whose practice is informed by his lived experience and operates at the intersection of identity, blak spirituality and Australia’s ongoing colonisation.