Dis and Dat: Urbanised Aboriginal paintings

Dis and Dat: Urbanised Aboriginal paintings

Abstract painter Peter Hewitt portrays urban environments using organic materials.

The first thing you notice about Dis and Dat, a body of work by Master of Creative Arts – Research (MCA-R) student Peter James Hewitt, is the smell of bitumen.

The collection of large and small scale paintings is a mix of contemporary Indigenous art and abstract expressionism using transparent layers of oil colour and black streaks of bitumen.

“I’ve chosen to work with organic materials because they represent a link to our urban environment. Bitumen colours much of our urban landscape,” Mr Hewitt said.

With titles like Barking Dog, Man Cave and That’s How I Roll, Mr Hewitt resists conventions associated with Indigenous art and what it means to be Aboriginal -- he believes his art reflects a mix of Aboriginal and Western heritage.

“Each painting depicts my mood and the environment of the painting, like in the backyard or garage. I think of my paintings as urbanised Aboriginal paintings.”

Peter graduated from UOW with a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Fine Art) and a Graduate Diploma in Education in 2004.

Since graduating, Mr Hewitt has gone on to hold several major art shows and be recognised with various awards: Peter won the ‘Aboriginal Section Winner’ in the Fishers Ghost Art Prize in 2007 and 2008 and was a finalist in the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Sir John Sulman Prize, the Telstra National Indigenous Art Prize, and the Darwin and NSW Indigenous Parliament House Prize (2008 and 2009).

“I graduated with two goals in mind -- to become an inspiring teacher and to continue to engage in artistic practice,” Mr Hewitt said.

Today, while doing his Masters part time (since 2012), Mr Hewitt is the Head of Figtree High School’s Art Department.