Kimberley Moulton is a proud Yorta-Yorta woman from Shepparton, Victoria. She is Senior Curator of South Eastern Aboriginal Collections at Museum Victoria and the inaugural International Fellow with the National Gallery of Australia’s Indigenous Arts Leadership Program. This Program was established to increase the number of Aboriginal people working in management roles across the visual arts sector. Each year Kalinya works with the participants of the NGA program, to gather and share their stories. Kimberley is a graduate of the British Council’s ACCELERATE Program for Aboriginal leaders in the creative industries, she has written on Contemporary Blak Art and Museology and been a guest curator at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection in Virginia, USA.
What makes you passionate about the arts?
I have always been drawn to the arts even as a little girl. Drawing, writing, and creating was something that was encouraged, it was my comfort and play. As I grew older I realised the power of art and storytelling. For me, curating is an opportunity to tell our stories, to unpack the real history and the effects of colonisation on this nation now called Australia. It helps me peel back the concrete foundations that we walk on to a time before and it allows me to catapult to future cultural imaginings. To curate an exhibition is to create a space where culture, passion, activism, and history are spoken through art. These spaces can transform people; they can break down barriers of racism and difference and connect people.
What has your career in the arts meant for your own cultural journey?
I come from a strong line of storytellers, teachers, and creative people, and it is important for me as a Yorta Yorta woman to honour my ancestors and continue the legacy I have been left. Their strength, intelligence and activism has given me the opportunities I have today and I think there is a responsibility to honour this. Being a part of the arts strengthens my identity by providing opportunities to connect to my personal cultural histories. This strengthens my connections to the Koorie community and allows me to build relationships with mob from across the country, to support each other in our practice and to be inspired.
Why is it important to speak up as a young Aboriginal woman?
It is important for us to speak up as Aboriginal women because our Grandmothers and families did not have the same platforms of free voice that we do today. I owe it to those who have come before me. As a Yorta Yorta woman, I will always advocate for the rights of our people and for self-determination. Right now we have the opportunity to mentor and support younger Koorie generations, it’s about supporting each other as a community to continue with our collective strength, to heal and to flourish. I am very lucky to be surrounded by strong women in my life both white and Blak. My Aboriginal friends, cousins and mentors are a strong assertive community who build each other up. This has not changed in the last fifty or so thousand years, and it will forever continue.
Why is curatorial control integral to our people?
Autonomy in our arts practices, self-representation in creative industries and control of our cultural knowledge is integral to our self-determination. It is our sovereign right.
As a First Peoples community, we have the education, skills, talent and abilities to curate our culture in museums and galleries, to develop exhibitions and programs, and to repatriate our ancestors and cultural materials back to country. The time where we have been written about, managed and studied is over. We as Aboriginal people should be, and are in many ways, leading and creating the vision for our futures.
Photo: Eliza Harrison