Ellen Jose

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Ellen Jose
Born 1951
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Died (aged 66)

Ellen Jose (1951 – 2 June 2017) was an Australian indigenous artist and photographer She was a Torres Strait Islander descendant from Murray, Darnley and Horn Islands who lived in Melbourne with husband Joseph Toscano.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Ellen Jose completed a Certificate of Applied Art at Seven Hills Art College, Brisbane in 1976. After moving to Melbourne in 1977 she completed a Diploma of Fine Art at Preston Institute of Technology in 1978. In 1979 she was awarded a Diploma of Education from Melbourne State College.[1]

After graduating Ellen Jose worked with the Victorian Aboriginal Education Service. She has worked as a lecturer at Monash University (from 1986), Deakin University (1991–1994). In 1996 she was appointed to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council.[1]

Art and exhibitions[edit]

Ellen Jose's photographic and printmaking works are held and exhibited by the National Gallery of Australia, Australian National Gallery, Canberra; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Australian War Memorial, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; National Museum of Australia, Canberra; State Library of Victoria, Melbourne; State Library of New South Wales, Sydney; and many more collections. Since 1987, José has held around sixteen solo exhibitions, including ten with William Mora Galleries.[2]

In 1986 Ellen Jose participated in the NAIDOC '86 Exhibition of Aboriginal and Islander Photographers at the Aboriginal Artists Gallery, Sydney. During 1985 and 1986 she contributed distinctive logos and poster designs for the Australian Anarchist Centenary Celebrations held in Melbourne around 1 May 1986.[3]

During 1988 Jose had photographs included in the Inside Black Australia exhibition that toured Australia.[4]

In 1993 Jose collaborated with Marshall White on a 2-minute 40 second animation video, In the Balance, incorporating cultural imagery and music from Ellen Jose's Indigenous background. It was one of the earliest examples of an indigenous artist embracing digital and computer animation for their art.[5]

Her 1997 sculpture Tanderrum can be found in the Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park,[6] and was restored in January 2008.[7]

From 2002 she attended the 3 December anniversary of the Eureka Rebellion in Ballarat, and photographed the anniversary events.[8]

In 2008 Ellen Jose featured in an exhibition of modern indigenous art at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne .[9] She is also a committee member and photographer of the Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner Commemoration Committee.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Artist Profile National Gallery of Australia. Accessed 18 September 2008
  2. ^ Ellen Jose Profile, Mora Galleries, Melbourne. Accessed 18 September 2008
  3. ^ Australian Anarchist Centenary Celebrations Conference 1986 Melbourne, on www.takver.com. Accessed 18 September 2008
  4. ^ Photographs by Ellen Jose taken for 'Inside Black Australia - Aboriginal Photographers Exhibition', Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney, 1988, State Library of NSW website. Accessed 18 September 2008
  5. ^ The Liquid Medium: Video Art Queensland Art Gallery website. Accessed 18 September 2008
  6. ^ Herring Island Environmental Sculpture Park, Parks Victoria website. Accessed 18 September 2008
  7. ^ Working on Tanderrum, Herring Island Summer Arts Festival News Blog, Tuesday, 22 January 2008. Accessed 18 September 2008
  8. ^ Anarchist Age Weekly Review, No.528 9 December 15 December 2002. Accessed 18 September 2008
  9. ^ Heide Indigenous Art, ABC TV, Screened 9/3/2008. Accessed 18 September 2008
  10. ^ Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner Commemoration Committee website. Accessed 18 September 2008