Introducing our recently appointed Communications Officer, Maya Hodge!

I’m Lardil on my Great Grandmother\’s side from Mornington Island and Yangkaal on my Great Grandfather\’s side from Denim Island, in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Born in Melbourne and raised in Mildura on Latje Latje Country, I grew up along the Murray River and have been living and working on Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung Country in Melbourne for six years.

My family have been involved in the Mildura and Melbourne arts communities for over 20 years. Following in their legacy, I studied Art History and Curating at Monash University. My focus is centred on disrupting colonial settler narratives and uplifting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytelling and arts practices, particularly in the South-East where I have called home my whole life. I have been fortunate to be raised within the Koorie community and have been inspired by many aunties and uncles whose art practices at a grassroots community level have grounded me and made me who I am today.

Growing up in Mildura, there were no tangible opportunities for young blackfullas to follow their passions. It was a challenging place to grow up in, however Mildura shaped me and instilled in me a determination to gain a sense of direction in order to help other young mob find their strengths. My work as a curator led me to positions working in exhibitions, collections and programming at the Koorie Heritage Trust, and then at Blak Dot Gallery. I have also completed a 6-month publishing internship with Open Book at Hardie Grant, Oxford University Press and Scribe. Last year, I co-curated Collective Movements at Monash University Museum of Art. This exhibition highlights the collective power of grassroots blackfulla artist groups. Through this process I was fortunate to work with my family to start the beginning archive of Latje Latje Dance Group Mildura, one of this state’s oldest contemporary and traditional dance groups. The work of this group has never been recognised on this scale before. This work in the community is what makes my heart sing. Working within these spaces has been pivotal in my growth in care, responsibility and love for preserving cultural practices, stories and family lines for future generations. My passion for our storytelling led me to freelance writing for various arts and culture publications to highlight the staunch work of Aboriginal artists and advocates.

My values in deep respect, authenticity, community strength and accountability is because of my mother Sonja and my brother Indi. My brother’s profound work in the policy and advocacy space is inspirational to me as a young person. My mothers art practice and her resilience has taught me how sharing our stories can help us heal and connect with one another. My brother poured his passion into KYC and I am honoured and beyond proud to walk in his footsteps. I can see the legacy he has left behind in such a deadly team of young people.

I am overjoyed to be working alongside Bonnie and Leyla (as the first ever all-women leadership duo in KYC’s history!), to learn from them and their incredible work in this space. Participating in the Koorie Youth Summit opened my eyes to how arts and advocacy intersect and how language and design can foster platforms for change. I’m looking forward to being part of the KYC team to amplify our young mob’s voices. I have always admired the work of this organisation and the people who make it. I am grateful to be contributing to such a strong space of dedicated young people.

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