Installation view of Mia Boe’s <em>For the angels in paradise</em> 2023 on display as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne.   <br/>
Image: Sean Fennessy<br/>

Mia Boe

Mia Boe
(Butchulla/Burmese, b. 1997, Brisbane. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Mia Boe is a Melbourne-based painter from Brisbane with Butchulla and Burmese ancestry. Her work is influenced by the inheritance and ‘disinheritance’ of these two cultures, often responding to Empire’s deliberate and violent interferences with the cultural heritages of Burma/Myanmar and K’gari (Fraser Island).

For the angels in paradise, 2023, continues Boe’s practice of recording and recovering Indigenous histories in a contemporary context. Her paintings of elongated bodies floating in the landscape serve as representations of ancestral spirits, family members and key historical figures. Ned Kelly, Sidney Nolan and Arrernte artist Albert Namatjira have featured prominently throughout the artist’s work. For Melbourne Now, Boe responds to a series of linocuts and paintings by Australian social realists Noel Counihan and Russell Drysdale. Using the NGV Collection as a reference point, Boe challenges notions of representation and imperial power. Counihan’s 1959 linocut of Namatjira crucified on the cross memorialises the artist’s unjust treatment by the government authorities of the day, which ultimately lead to his death. In the same way, Boe’s site-specific mural speaks to notions of the loss and displacement of First Nations people. In one of the nine paintings, a shirtless black figure is seen handcuffed by a police officer in blue uniform. Using portraiture and tableaux, For the angels in paradise extends Boe’s work of tracing historical trauma and violence to open up new perspectives on present-day Australia.

Boe has shown her work at galleries and museums all over Australia, including solo exhibitions at Sydney Contemporary, Melbourne Art Fair, Penny Contemporary in Hobart and Milani Gallery in Brisbane, and in group settings at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane, and Craft Victoria and the Spring 1883 Art Fair in Melbourne. She was a 2021 winner of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and has been a finalist in the Koori Mail Indigenous Art Award, the National Capital Art Prize and the Darebin Art Prize. Boe is a current Gertrude Contemporary Studio Artist (2022–24), and her work has been published in Vogue Living, RUSSH, The Design Files, VAULT and Monster Children.