Dr Fiona Foley

Dr Fiona Foley is a Badtjala woman and visual artist, curator and writer who is recognised in Queensland, in Australia and across the world for her contributions to the arts, to education and to global society.

Dr Foley graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the Sydney College of Arts in 1986. Her 35-year career has spanned diverse visual media, including painting, photograph, sculpture and film. Dr Foley has also worked as a writer, lecturer and curator.

A feature of her work has been a persistent refusal of institutional and societal silence about colonial histories, and significantly, the promotion of Badtjala and other Aboriginal ways of knowing, being and doing. While formally educated to the highest level, those familiar with Dr Foley and her public life know she attributes much to the influence of her teacher and mother, the late Shirley Foley.

Dr Foley’s artworks are held in major public and private collections both within Australia and abroad, including the British Museum and the National Gallery of Australia. Her public sculptures feature at Parliament House in Canberra, the Museum of Sydney and the State Library of Queensland, where in 2020 she was the inaugural recipient of the Monica Clare Fellowship.

She exhibits regularly in Australia and internationally, and is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences, festivals and symposia across the world. Dr Foley has received numerous awards and fellowships across her career in recognition of her contributions through her work.

Dr Foley has been closely associated with The University of Queensland as an Adjunct Professor from 2011 to 2017, as well as through her solo exhibition, Forbidden, at the UQ Art Museum in 2010 and her curation of the Great Court installation, Courting Blakness, in 2014.

In 2020, the University of Queensland Press published her ground-breaking work of Indigenous scholarship, Biting the Clouds, which received the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for a work of State Significance in 2021.

Awards

Doctor of Letters honoris causa
2021
Dr Fiona Foley