Ben McKeown is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice draws inspiration from his Wirangu and Kaurna heritage, queer identity, and family history and examines Australian First Nations people’s relationship to place and an enduring connection to Country.
McKeown's artistic practice and academic research as a PhD candidate explores the notion of whether 'beauty and aesthetic principles exist as an inherited memory similar to that of inherited traumatic and ancestral memories?' through the lens of his own lived experience, his family's historical narratives and within a post-colonial context in which land, earth and identity are inextricably connected.
In his most recent body of work, 'Ancestral Memory and Tokens of Love' McKeown uses clay that he has sourced and processed himself from his family’s land on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia to create sculptural expressions of identity; self-expressive works formed directly from the earth of his inherited Country.
McKeown’s work is included in collections and public institutions in Australia and overseas including the United Nations collection in Geneva; Michigan State University, USA; the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre Collection, Victoria; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the State Library of Victoria, Victoria; and the City of Port Phillip, Victoria among others. In 2011, McKeown won the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards and was the first contemporary Aboriginal artist to be collected by the State Library of Victoria.
© The Artist & Alcaston Gallery, 2023