ARTISTS IN ISOLATION | 2020
Cann River, East Gippsland, May 2020
Currently studying Year 12 at Cann River High School, Chris was drafted to the CFA during the bushfires and helped defend Cann River. He later evacuated to Bairnsdale in a convoy but then he was stranded and couldn’t get home until the road opened a couple of weeks later.
“I am a proud Yuin, Monero and Gunnai Kurnai man. I grew up around Cann River, in the bush and around the ocean, fishing, diving and camping and this the inspiration for most of my work. My Grandfather Alex Mongta taught me about the art and its connection to culture. My mother Michelle Mongta taught me about bush foods and their medicinal uses.
I’m always immersed in the bush along with culture and that reflects in my work. During this isolation period I have been at home making tools and weapons from local wood and burning designs into them, using the skills I was taught by family. At the end of last year, I started a print project with East Gippsland Art Gallery and l have been carving some of my designs into lino that will be printed as a limited edition series. Watch this space!”
Chris’s Grandfather Alex Mongta and Alex’s brother Peter Mongta from Cann River were known as two of the best tool makers and wood-burners in Australia. Working together for many years, their stunning work is in many public and private collections such as Gippsland Art Gallery Sale, Koorie Heritage Trust Melbourne, Museum Victoria and in the Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth II.