Warwick Keen in the media

Warwick’s Cultural and Artistic Story
Warwick’s Upbringing and Artistic Journey

About Warwick Keen

I have been a practicing artist for over 40 years and an Art Teacher since 1995. During my time as a teacher I have been delivering Aboriginal Cultural Art Programs as well as courses in mainstream Visual Arts and Fine Art disciplines, mainly with TAFE NSW.

My initial training to explore and develop my skills as an artist was carried out at Mitchell College of Advanced Education in Bathurst between 1983 and1986. I graduated with an Associate Diploma in Creative Arts in 1986. In 1994 I completed an Aboriginal Arts as a Business Course in Coffs Harbour presented by the Verner Mackay Group, Private Providers from Brisbane.

After completing that Course I was offered an opportunity to become a teacher and to present painting and drawing classes to remote Aboriginal communities in western NSW and southern QLD. Read more …

Coming Together Mural

COMMISSIONS & PROJECTS

2020: 1 of 4 artists selected to exhibit in “Online, On Country Contemporary Aboriginal Art NAIDOC Week Showcase” – held in the Dixson Library at The University of New England, Armidale. 11th November – 30 January 2021.

2020: Commissioned to design 40m (w) X 4m (h) mural for the Bomaderry Indoor Sporting Complex. Mural successfully installed in December 2020.

2020: Commissioned to curate “the TERRA within” Aboriginal Artist Exhibition held from 9th October – 5th December 2020. The exhibition consisted of over 30 Aboriginal Artist responses to the past 250 years of colonisation.

2020: Successful artist/designer selected for UAP/ NRMA Sydney Harbour Fast Ferries Centennial Project. Project stalled due to COVID-19.

2019: January – Commissioned to create Indigenous design ‘WRAP’ for the Fulton Hogan Group (Engineers / Builders) – Employees Education & Training Centre.- ALBION PARK RAIL BYPASS.

2019: JULY – SEPT – B -Line Bus Project for Transport NSW, contracted to Gill MInervini Creative. Creating and developing 3 designs for North Shore Bus Infrastructure cabinets.

2019: OCTOBER – Community Artist in Residency at ‘NANIMA’ Aboriginal Community at Wellington NSW – Carved Tree Project.

OLDER COMMISSIONS & PROJECTS

2018: JUNE – JULY Completed commission for ROADS & MARITIME SERVICES NSW to design and install 7 large murals as an Anti Grafitti initiative along Memorial Drive in Woonona, WOLLONGONG.

2017: FEB – Commissioned to design and install large artwork/painting by The Shellharbour City Council – SHELLHARBOUR CITY HUB – Customer Service Wall. (5 metres X 4 metres) – Installed in November2017.

2017: NOV – Commissioned by Wollongong City Council & Wollongong Art Gallery to create original design for large Mural to be painted on Northern side of building (approx. 220 square metres). Mural created to celebrate 40 years operation of the Wollongong Art Gallery – Mural Installed in February 2018.

Cultural Conversations

AWARDS

1999: National NAIDOC Art Award – “RESPECT”.

2012 & 2010: Highly Commended – NSW Parliament Aboriginal Art Award
Selected as a Finalist every year since inception – Commended many times.

2013: COFA Artist Residency Award – Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Award.

2015: Highly Commended – Wollongong City Art Gallery – Lord Mayor’s & Blue Scope Steel Aboriginal Art Award.

GRANTS

1984: Australia Council for the Arts – $5000 – Create new work for Exhibition

2011: Australia Council for the Arts – $20,000 – Create new work for Exhibition

2015: Arts NSW – Regional Arts Fund – $3000 – Promote and present new work to tour regional NSW.

Gordon Syron - An Aboriginal Perspective of Sydney Harbour - 2003 -oil on canvas -235cm X 172cm

COLLECTIONS

  • Mosman Art Gallery, SYDNEY
  • Australian Institute for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies
    AIATSIS Canberra.
  • Wollongong City Art Gallery
  • University of Wollongong
  • Goulburn Regional Art Gallery
  • Tamworth Regional Art Gallery
  • Campbelltown Arts Centre
  • Armidale Aboriginal Cultural Centre & Keeping Place
  • University of New England UNE, Armidale
  • QANTAS Club, Tamworth
  • ONE TAFE NSW – Northern

EDUCATION

2003: Bachelor of Education; Adult Education & Training
University of New England – Armidale NSW

2000: Graduate Certificate in Action Learning
University of Western Sydney – Richmond NSW

1986: Associate Diploma in Creative Arts
Mitchell College of Advanced Education – Bathurst NSW

EMPLOYMENT

1997 – 2021: Employed by TAFE NSW as a Fine Arts; Visual Arts & Aboriginal Cultural Arts Teacher and Course Co-ordinator. Tamworth Campus (New England Institute) & Nowra Campus (Illawarra Institute)

1998 – 1999: Aboriginal Art Teacher at Tamworth Correctional Centre

1995 – 1996: Aboriginal Art Teacher employed by the Verner Mackay Group, Brisbane – Presenting and promoting Aboriginal Art Programs in remote Aboriginal Communities throughout NSW and Southern QLD.

1999 – 2004: Indigenous Representative – Arts North West – Regional Arts Organisation.

2015 – 2017: Appointed to the Shoalhaven Arts Board


[Continued from above … ]

From this point (1997) I was offered work at the Gunnedah (NSW) TAFE as a part-time teacher and delivering Aboriginal Cultural Art programs in both Gunnedah and Coonabarabran. 1998 saw me moving to Tamworth and teaching a full-time program immediately.

And so began my career as an Art Teacher, being offered a full-time position at TAFE New England in 2000 where I also had the opportunity to teach at Certificate III, Certificate IV and Diploma and Advanced Diploma levels. I completed my teaching degree through the University of New England in 2003 after being afforded advanced standing and RPL in my study program.

During my teaching career I have expanded both my own knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and mainstream art practices as well as developing a more complete bank of intellectual and material resources for furthering my own Art practice. I have been able to capitalise on these opportunities and have taken part in more than 20 group exhibitions as well as being responsible for organising approximately 13 solo shows. Teaching Art has certainly been kind to me in a number of ways:  Firstly, by reaffirming my own Aboriginality and secondly by gaining a deeper understanding of Aboriginal Art and Culture. My own practice has travelled full circle where I realise one of my greatest strengths as an artist lies in the area of design and patterning, my work has always reflected this tendency.

For the past 20-25 years I have been drawing my inspiration by creating contemporary representations of the once practiced traditional Art of tree-carving.

I have carved logs, produced paintings and constructions that utilise this iconography from south-eastern NSW. I have introduced images and text into many of my latest commissioned projects , while retaining the patterning sourced from my research and practice of carved trees or ‘dendroglyphs ‘ as they are also known.

In 2012 I participated in “BUNGAREE, the first Australian” and in 2015 I was responsible for being a major contributor to “BUNGAREE’S FARM”, both of these shows were curated by Djon Mundine (OAM) and presented by the Mosman Art Gallery, who later purchased my 24 carved poles “COUNTRY” which were then installed within the MAG sculpture garden.  My collection of work here included painting, digital art, photography, wood-carving/sculpture as well as creating the musical theme for the show. More recently, (June 2021) one of my designs, inspired by NSW Aboriginal Art iconography was wrapped on one of the Sydney Harbour fast ferries and then launched at Darling Harbour. The selected design resulted from an invitation by Urban Art Projects (UAP) to develop 2 concepts for consideration by the NRMA organisation to celebrate their Centenary of business operations and to also highlight and promote their Reconciliation Action Plan.


Commission Warwick Keen

If you would like to commission Warwick Keen to create a mural, painted artwork or digital media artwork, please get in touch using the form below.