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Michael EATHER



FireWorks Gallery – known for exhibiting and promoting artworks by some of Australia’s best contemporary artists – is nestled in the art and design hub on Doggett Street, Newstead.


Artworks are sourced from across Australia and showcased through exhibitions. Unique collections – private and corporate – are built featuring contemporary works from established and emerging artists, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. FireWorks emerged as a commercial gallery space in Brisbane in 1993, following the networks of Campfire Group consultancies and collaborative projects that began in 1987.


A desire to present artworks by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists alongside each other has been a constant theme underpinning the gallery’s exhibition program and associated projects. Director of FireWorks Gallery, Michael Eather, comments: Remarkably, the premise of cultural collision—originally cloaked in political and educational contexts of artists’ shared influences—still seems as relevant today as it did some thirty years ago.


FireWorks Gallery projects include facilitating and coordinating public and private commissions, developing collaborative projects, publishing limited-edition print folios from the Estates of Lin Onus and Vincent Serico and, more recently, commissioning limited-edition sculptures. Large, dynamic open stockrooms throughout the gallery house numerous works including paintings, sculpture, installations, works on paper and new media.




Michael Eather |  Artist and Independent Curator


Director of Fire-Works Gallery, Brisbane- Aboriginal Art and Other Burning Issues

1963 Born Launceston, Tasmania

1980 -83 B.F.A.(Visual Art Teaching) Sculpture Major, Tasmanian School of Art, University of Tasmania

1987-88 Lecturer (Sculpture Department) Queensland College of Art; Kelvin Grove College of Advanced Education

1995-98 Lecturer (Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art) Queensland College of Art, Griffith University

Travelled Australia 1984, Lived and worked in Maningrida Community as a freelance artist and project worker 1984-87.

Began curatorial interests in 1987 and set up base in Brisbane shortly after that.

In 1989 travelled to 35 Aboriginal and Islander Communities to curate “Balance 1990” for the Queensland Art Gallery

Established Campfire Consultancy in 1990 with Marshall Bell. Co-founder of Campfire Group artists in 1991 a collective of Indigenous and non Indigenous artists working on contemporary art projects and commissions.

Between 1991 and 1994, worked with Government; Community groups and Art / Educational institutions to help develop and establish:

A Queensland Indigenous Artists data Base and Image Bank;

The Queensland Indigenous Artists Aboriginal Corporation and a Bachelor Degree Course for Indigenous Artists at Griffith University.

Established Fire-Works Gallery in 1993 with Laurie Nilsen



The Arthur Craven Room | Recent Campfires, Works by Michael Eather 1985-1986, Opening Monday 17 November 1986 in “the Campfire Room” upstairs 210 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane Meeanjin



Exhibition review written by Louise Dauth about the important and influential  Balance 1990 exhibition held at Queensland Art Gallery and curated by Michael Eather and Marlene Hall, March 1990.

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Various Private Collections



Solo Exhibitions (Selected)

1999 Recent Dilemmas, Michael Eather and Friends, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane

1997 The Earth and the Worm, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane

1997 Skin and Division, Michael Eather and Friends, Brisbane City Gallery,

1995 Travels-in-Gratitude, (The Gravel Attitude), Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

1994 Back to the World, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane

1992 Converting Distance to Actual Size, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

1991 Post-Envy, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane

1990 I Remember…I Forget, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane

1989 Relief, Museum of Contemporary Art (M.O.C.A.), Brisbane

Industrial Barks, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane

1987 Backlog: Season of Doubt, Museum of Contemporary Art (M.O.C.A.), Brisbane

1986 Recent Campfires, 210 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley,Brisbane

1986 Recent Campfires, Arthur Craven Room, Mactaggarts Woolshed, Brisbane


Group Exhibitions (Selected)

2000 Flotilla, Melbourne Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne

2000 The Art of Place, Australian Heritage Commission Old Parliament House, Canberra,

1999 The Ongoing Adventures of X and Ray, Fire-Works gallery, Brisbane

1998 The Art of Place, Australian Heritage Commission Old Parliament House Canberra, (with Campfire Group)

ACAF 6, Melbourne Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building

1997 Wild Kingdom, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

Interference, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (with Campfire Group)

Interference, Fotofeis, Edinburgh, Scotland (with Campfire Group)

1996 All Stock Must Go! The 2nd Asia Pacific Triennial, QAG

1995 Pathways (Changes + Exchanges), Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

Welcome, (with Laurie Nilsen) Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

Chameleon, A Decade, Long Gallery, Hobart

1994 600,000 Hours (Mortality), (with Laurie Nilsen), Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide

1993 Political Art, M.O.C.A., Brisbane

Political Works, Fire-Works Gallery, Brisbane

Stories From the Inner Circle, (with Campfire Group), Beurs, Amsterdam

1992 Unfamiliar Territory, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art

The Sex Show, M.O.C.A., Brisbane

Do Something With A Blundstone Chameleon Galleries, Tasmania

Gold Coast City Invitation Art Prize, Centre Gallery, Gold Coast

Transgenerations, Queensland Art Gallery

Group show, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

Group show, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane

“ISLAND” 9th Biennale of Sydney, Bond Store, Sydney (Campfire Group-

Richard Bell, Marshall Bell and Michael Eather)

1991 From the Landscape: A Review of the Influence of Contemporary Art, M.O.C.A

1990 Only Life, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane

Balance of Trade Figures, Bellow Zero, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

1989 Suncorp Prize Exhibition, (Winner)M.O.C.A, Brisbane

Group Show, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane

Art of Balance, Wiumulli Aboriginal Gallery, Brisbane

1988 Art of the Last Twenty Years, M.O.C.A., Brisbane

1987 See 3D, That Space, brisbane

1984 The Tower Show, Chameleon Gallery, Hobart

1983 Avago – in – Hobart, in conjunction with Anzart In Hobart, curated by Leigh Hobba

Raw State, Chameleon Gallery, Hobart

The Festival Show, Nine Tasmanian Artists, Long Gallery, Hobart



1987 Backlog (Season of Doubt), Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane

1983 Dear Log (Just in the Nick of Time), Long Gallery, Hobart

How to Crumb a Log, Tasmanian School of Art Gallery, Hobart

We Live to Bite Pillows, Chameleon Gallery, Hobart

The Saw and the Candle, Chameleon Gallery, Hobart

1982 Concrete Pillow Talk, Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart


Public Collections


Bundaberg T.A.F.E

Bundaberg Regional Gallery

Brisbane City Council

Commonwealth Courts, Brisbane

Museum of Contemporary Art (M.O.C.A), Brisbane

Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville

Parliament House, Canberra

Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

Queensland University Art Museum

Queensland University of Technology Art Collection

Suncorp Collection

Transfield Pty Ltd

Campfire Group Commissioned Artwork

1999 “Connecting Worlds” at the Novatel / Ibis Hotel foyers, Homebush Bay, Sydney

4 major murals measuring 94 metres extending through foyers, longes and reception areas.

1999 “The Road to Cherbourg” Sculptural installtion depicting themes of Indigenous Identity, Dispalcemnet, Stolen generations, Mission Life, Social and Political Life of Queensland Indigenous Peoples in the Twentieth Century.

2000 “Journey Tracks” for the Motorama Group of Companies, 4x4xMore Brisbane

3 major murals measuring 60 metres, installation sculpture and education

2000 “The Ongoing Adventures of X and Ray” with Josh Herd and Tiriki Onus

12 minute digital animation for exhibition installation



1998-2001 (Curatorial consultant)

urban dingo: The Art and Life of Lin Onus, 1948-1996

a Queensland Art Gallery Touring exhibition; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Queensland Art Gallery; Museum of Melbourne

2000 Lines, Fire-Works gallery,

Looking at Linear/ Minimalist works by leading indigenous artists contextualised with certain non-indigenous Australian artists

Landmarks, Brisbane Powerhouse, as part of Brisbane City Council’s DAR Festival celebrating Indigenous Art and Culture (Major works by Rover Thomas, Emily Kngwarreye, Queenie McKenzie, Michael Nelson Jagamara, Lin Onus, Lorna Fencer, Walala Tjapaltjarri, Joanne Currie, “Dr” George Tjapaltjarri, Ian Abdulla,

1999 The Road to Cherbourg, The Art of Vincent Serico, Global Arts Link, Ipswich

Regional Gallery, Queensland, Major retrospective exhibition of this leading urban based indigenous artist. Includes 40 curated works, expanded labels, installtions, education, Interactive CD ROM

Powerful Medicine II -The Women, Paintings , Stories and Ceremonies from the Women of Papunya Community, in association with the Brisbane City Council’s DAR Festival, (Exhibition, Demonstrations and Education)

1998 Powerful Medicine I -The Men, Paintings , Stories and Ceremonies from the Men of Papunya Community, in association with the Brisbane City Council’s DAR Festival

(Exhibition, Demonstrations and Education)

Women Painters of the Desert, Fire-Works gallery, Brisbane

Featuring Emily Kngwarreye, Gloria Petyarreye, Makinti Napanangka, Inyuwa Nampitjinpa, Ada Bird Petyarreye et al,

1998 A Classic Collection of Desert Art, Fire-Works gallery, Brisbane

50 major paintings from Papunya, Kintore, Kiwikurra, Yuendumau, Utopia, Lajamanu, Kimberley

1996-97 Saltwater, Freshwater, Borewater, 40 artworks. Contemporary Indigenous Art looking at Regional diversity across the country. A Touring Exhibition supported by the Regional Galleries Association of Queensland and The Gordon Darling Foundation.

1994 IPCHAC Indigenous Prison Art Exhibition, Fire-Works Gallery, Brisbane

Supported by Arts Queensland and Department of Corrective Services Queensland

Political Boats, Fire-Works Gallery, Brisbane

1993 Political Bedrooms, Fire-Works Gallery, Brisbane

Aboriginal Perceptions 1963-1993, Brisbane City Gallery, Brisbane

Stories: Contemporary Aboriginal Art Touring Exhibition, Finland/Norway

120 paintings and works on paper supported by Kerava Art Museum, travelling to Kerava Art Museum and Rovaneimi Art Museum

Commitments, a Touring exhibition supported by Australia Council, to Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Artspace, Sydney; Canberra School of Art

(Installations, paintings, sculpture, text and critical forums and debate-

Looking at collaborative artworks by Indigenous and non-indigenous artists)

1991-4 Community Exhibitions, Campfire Consultancy, Brisbane

1990 Balance 1990: Views, Visions, Influences, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

Major survey exhibition looking at the shared influences between Urban based indigenous art, tribal based indigenous art and Non-indigeous art throughout the 1980’s. (Major catalogue, QAG)

1988 Three Maningrida Artists, Museum Of Contemporary Art, Brisbane

Major bark paintings, carvings and Educational from Arnhem land artists England Bangala, Terry Ngamandarra and Les Midikuria


Selected Bibliography

Exhibitions and Curatorial

M.O.C.A.Bulletin, Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, 1987, 88, 89

Special Double Issue:’ Contemporary Australian Art’, Artlink, May, 1990

Balance 1990 Views Visions Influences, Queensland Art Gallery, 1990 (Intro essay)

Peter Anderson, “Balance 1990 and the 1990 Moet & Chandon Touring Exhibion”,

Art & Text,36, 1990

Humphrey McQueen, “Michael Eather”, Unfamiliar Territory,, Adelaide Biennial of

Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia,1992

Anthony Bond, “Campfire Group”, The Boundary Rider. 9th Biennale of Sydney, Art Gallery of

New South Wales, Sydney, 1992.

Fay Brauer, “The Postcolonial Boundary Rider”, Agenda, #29, March 1993.

George Petelin ‘Welcome, That’s Women All Over’, The Australian 28 April 1995

All Stock Must Go! Campfire Group, with margo Neale, Asia Pacific Triennial 2, Catalogue, QAG

Skin and Division, Michael Eather and Friends, Brisbane City Gallery

Text by Margo Neale and Dr Rex Butler

Review: Skin and Division, Michael Eather and Friends by David Broker, EYELINE magazine Summer 1998

Curatorial Essay: The Road to Cherbourg, 1999 The Art of Vincent Serico, Global Arts Link Ipswich

Profile: MAP magazine, March 2000

Profile: Understanding Nirvana, Sandra MCLean, Courier Mail June 1999

On Collaboration: ArtTRade Journal, (Australian Indigenous Art Trade Association), July 2000,

“Under the Influence” on Collaboration urban dingo: The Art of Lin Onus 1948-1996, QAG

Craftsman house