First major solo retrospective exhibition of the late Josh Muir

May 10, 2024

An exhibition featuring the work of the late Old Collegian Josh Muir (SPC 2004-07, PY2009) has opened in Federation Square, in Melbourne.

The JXSH MVIR: Forever I Live is currently on show at the Koorie Heritage Trust building, from 9 March through until 14 July 2024.

Senior SPC students were fortunate to see the amazing artworks of this amazing alumni up close during an excursion recently.

It is the first solo retrospective exhibition of Josh’s work since his passing in 2022.

Some of the amazing artworks in the JXSH MVIR: Forever I Live exhibition. Photo: Christian Capurro

Josh Muir was born and raised on Wadawurrung Country in Ballarat. The exhibition title is taken from an artwork of the same name –
Forever I Live (2015) – and is a reference to the ongoing legacy that continues to live in Josh’s artwork beyond life itself.
JXSH MVIR: Forever I Live is co-curated by Josh’s partner Shanaya Sheridan, his mother Justine Berg and the curatorial team at Koorie Heritage Trust.

Featuring works from lenders and collectors across Australia, the exhibition showcases Josh’s short but prolific artistic career during which he explored Country, culture, identity, colonisation, mental health, addiction, loss and grief.

The Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta and Barkindji artist was only 30 years old when he passed away. He was exceptionally talented and known for his distinctive vibrant and layered visual language.

A 21st century digital Aboriginal, Josh’s computer-designed images are a blend of edgy street art, and epic mosaic fragments of bold and joyful colours geometrically defined by black, depict historic and contemporary Aboriginal experiences.

Josh was involved with many diverse projects and commissions including the 2016 White Night projection on the facade of the National Gallery of Victoria (Still Here), and as the recipient of the 2016 Hutchinson Indigenous Fellowship and Residency at the Victorian College of the Arts.

JXSH MVIR: Forever I Live exhibition. Photo: Christian Capurro

A book, published in conjunction with this exhibition, reflects on Josh’s life and the massive contribution he made as an artist.

“There are over eight billion people in the world, but there is, and only ever will be, one Josh Muir” writes guest curator and Josh’s partner Shanaya Sheridan.

“Josh was well known for his advocacy of youth, mental health and suicide preventation, and his art.

“… Life wasn’t easy for Josh. He openly spoke about his mental health struggles and used his art as a platform to raise awareness for others who may have been facing the same challenges … I hope that his art will continue to bring light and hope to those struggling with their mental health, and to inspire people to chase their dreams.

“As Josh would say – Aim for the stars not the street lights.”

Likewise, writer, critic and artist Monique Grbec said Josh’s “generosity of spirit embraced family, bolstered community, and his vision of a self-assured and united community forged pathways throughout the landscape of contemporary art”.

After winning a Mental Health Art Week Competition in 2011, Josh realised his art could make a significant difference to how First Nations people are perceived.

“Josh Muir had found his voice. As a man who was passionate about sharing the best parts of life, he wanted every other young person experiencing a crisis to learn the skills for overcoming darkness. Over the years, he mentored many young people on how to adapt, heal, and most importantly, how to find culture and their own voice.”

JXSH MVIR: Forever I Live
Saturday 9 March until Sunday 14 July 2024
Koorie Heritage Trust, Birrarung Building, Federation Square


JXSH MVIR: Forever I Live exhibition. Photo: Christian Capurro