Morowa, Western Australia
Born 1939, Morowa, Western Australia
Deceased in Morowa,Western Australia, 2020
The art of Irwin Lewis is confronting and exciting. With his vibrant use of colour, he captures conflict, joy and country in a flamboyant manner.
The second of eight children, Irwin, who is Yamitji, was born in 1939 at Morawa, north east of Perth. He was educated at Christchurch Grammar School and in 1957 was the first Western Australian Aboriginal person to attend a university. Irwin was a leading Australian Rules footballer.
A public servant for most of his life, Irwin realised his desire to paint and work with clay and ceramics in 1987. His works depict many of the tragedies that Aboriginal people have suffered in the years since colonisation. Through his art, Irwin portrays part of history which he believes to have been untold, or inaccurately recorded.
National Maritime Museum, New South Wales
National Gallery of Victoria
University of Western Australia Berndt Museum
Art Gallery of Western Australia
Aboriginal Affairs Collection
Town of Victoria Park Collection
Ian Bernadt Collection
Aboriginal Affairs Department
City of Wanneroo Collection
Royal Perth Hospital Collection
King Edward Hospital Collection, Perth, Western Australia
Mossenson Collection, Perth, Western Australia
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra