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Under the clearest blue sky | Uncle Brian Birch

3 July 2021 - 1 November 2021


‘When I’m painting, I feel I’m in another place; a spiritual place where everything just comes out of me about my people and my community, and I’m always learning.’


Under the clearest blue sky is a survey of  Uncle Brian Birch’s vibrant paintings. Bringing together works from personal and institutional collections, this intimate body of work examines Uncle Brian’s connection to Country, family and tradition. Uncle Brian picked up a paintbrush at age 70 after completing a course in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts at the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) and has since taken to working on large scale canvases. He is still painting at the age of 86.


Uncle Brian Birch was born in Fitzroy, Melbourne in 1936. He completed his studies at NMIT in 2005 and won the National Gallery of Victoria Acquisitive Art Award in the 2006 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards. He received the 2006 Gumbri White Dove Award at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, and was commended in the Koori Heritage Trust Acquisition Award in 2008.


View the 3D tour









Uncle Brian BIRCH Koori elders and family dancing 2013. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria

Uncle Brian BIRCH Under the clearest blue sky (installation view) 2021. Photography by Jon Butt

Uncle Brian BIRCH Celebration of survival 2008. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of Helen Burnham

Uncle Brian BIRCH Untitled 2006 - 2021. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist

Uncle Brian BIRCH Koori Elders and family survival from European Invasion 2008. Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of Helen Burnham

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