I am blessed to have been born into interesting and diverse cultures: my father comes from the oldest city in Austria, Enns (Upper Austria) and my mother is from the oldest cultures in the world, Aboriginal people of Australia. While celebrating my Austrian heritage, I also identify through my Mum’s line as a Mamu Aboriginal woman, Dugul-barra and Wari-barra family groups, from the Johnstone River catchment of the Wet Tropics of Far North Queensland and the adjoining Great Barrier Reef sea country. Reef and rainforest country are important sources for my inspirations. I have known from a very young age that I was going to be an artist. While also being a bookworm and a piano player, art was a world that I frequently retreated into as I grew up. I reckon this is because I was deaf and felt I couldn’t join in with groups of people. As a teen and along with my sister Joelene, we created art on didgeridoos and canvas. This art sold very quickly in the little opal mining outback town of Yowah way out back of western Queensland. This red soil country still influences my works. When I was in my late teens/early twenties, I started playing around with the ideas of combining my Aboriginal and Austrian inspirations. I had already tried my style in Aboriginal, Folk and Abstract arts and I had had a successful first exhibition at Outback at Isa Gallery (and right now coming up to a 10 year anniversary exhibition with them). So at 23 I travelled to Austria to live with my father’s family and absorb as much as I could of the Folk and European culture. More than anything I loved the architecture, inside and out. The patterns, gold leaf and occasional Swarovski crystal in my works are some things that since then inspire my work! In 2007 and 2009 I had children: the first a beautiful girl born with Spina Bifida and the other a very energetic boy. I found myself out of the rat race of paid work and a lot of extra time on my hands (post daughter and pre son that is!). So I indulged myself with painting every moment that I could. I’ve since joined up with more galleries, had several exhibitions both solo and group, painting in Mount Isa, Toowoomba and Yowah before settling down in beautiful and inspiring Far North Queensland’s Cairns city – close at hand to my mother’s country and generations past and present. I’m feeling close with the spirit of rainforest and reef animals and this is coming out in my work. Also, I’m expanding my past focus by exploring family, culture and country stories and looking forward to where this leads.
Solo Exhibitions • 2015 – Solo exhibition ‘Mirages to Rainbows’ at Outback at Isa’s Outback Gallery • 2014 – Fusion at Tosari Galleries • 2013 – UnderArt Gallery, Cairns • 2011 – Feature artist at Tosari Galleries • 2010 – “From Dust To Thunder,” Tosari Galleries, Toowoomba • 2009 – “Indigenously Austr(al)ian,” Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, Toowoomba • 2005 – “Migaloo Murri,” Outback at Isa, Mount Isa
Group Exhibitions • 2014 – Manyung gallery, Mt Eliza • 2014 – Outback Gallery at Mount Isa • 2014 – The Quilpie Museum, Gallery and Visitor Information Centre • 2013 – Manyung Gallery, Mt Eliza • 2013 – The Quilpie Museum, Gallery and Visitor Information Centre • 2012 – Earths Elements, Manyung Gallery, Mt Eliza • 2012 – The Quilpie Museum, Gallery and Visitor Information Centre • 2008 – Brisbane Women’s Club, Brisbane • 2007 – Gulf of Carpentaria and Savannah Indigenous Dreaming’s and Lifestyle exhibition
Write-ups • Landscapes Inspire Artist, The Chronicle, 14/06/14 • Denise Carter, Melanie Hava combines Australian and Austrian influences in new solo art exhibition at UnderArt Gallery in Cairns, 29/10/13 • Ally Martel, “Indigenous Mix,” Highlife Magazine, Spring 2010 • Sandy Pottinger, “Artist Shares Imaginative Landscapes,” The Chronicle, 05/06/2010 • Rosie O’Sullivan, “Melanie Hava,” Style Magazine, June 2010 • Merryl Miller, “From Dust to Thunder,” Style Magazine, June 2010 • Sandy Pottinger, “Solo Exhibitions Shape Focal Points for Brave Artists,” The Chronicle, 11/07/2009 • Joann Marsh, “Artist Fuses Cultures to Create Work,” The Chronicle, 04/07/2009 • Tahnee Watson, “Pair’s Art Becomes Serious Business,” The North West Star, 04/03/2008 • Alison Mooney, “Motherhood Influential,” The North West Star, 08/01/2008 • Aleisha Orr, “Exhibition Aids Artists,” The North West Star, 15/08/2007 • Aleisha Orr, “Exhibition Aids Artists,” The North West Star, 15/08/2007 • Mia Ginnivan, “Talented Young Woman,” The North West Star, 10/06/2005
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