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Graham Davis-King

Graham Davis King is a Wiradjuri and Ngiyampaa artist and activist. He was born in the Crown Street Women’s Hospital in March 1967 to Ada King and Sid Davis. King’s grandfather Archie King was among the last Aboriginal law men to go through ancient Wiradjuri and Ngiyampaa Aboriginal law ceremonies in the first half of the 20th century. King grew up in the Sydney inner city suburb of Redfern and in and around the inner western suburbs. From an early age King has been involved in projects that concentrate on Aboriginal culture and education as an outcome. In 1985, and for the following 10 years, King worked on an Aboriginal radio program called 'Aborigines in Focus’ for Radio 2SER in Sydney whilst concurrently working at Radio Redfern (1985-1993). In 1993 King received a writing award from the Cannes Film Festival for his work on the film Lake Mungo Lady. 

King also continues to work as a dancer and storyteller and has performed in the Koories In Theatre troupe alongside the renowned storyteller, Pauline McLeod (deceased) from 1993 to 1999. This troupe performed at many venues in and around Sydney including schools, galleries and museums and also on ABC TV for Playschool. King also performed as a dancer with Yidaki Didj and Dance from 1994 to 2005 and travelled across Australia and internationally with this dance company.

In the mid 1990s King was living in Wollongong and began submitting his works of acrylic and ochre on canvas to local group exhibitions. His first Wollongong exhibition, Unjustified, was in 1995 and was held at the Project: Centre for Contemporary Art as part of local NAIDOC celebrations. He submitted work the following year in the exhibition, Looking into Aftertime, which was again at Project. It was from these two exhibitions that the curator Tess Allas employed King to work alongside her and other local Aboriginal artists on two public art projects for Wollongong City Council in 1996. The first project was to redesign the Wollongong Town Hall Fountain with a local Aboriginal Dreaming Story. King provided the story of Gurangatch and Mirrigan, who created the subterranean waterways. The Coomaditichie Artists Cooperative headed by Lorraine Brown were the commissioned artists who turned the story into a Italian glass and Wilcannia marble mosaic. With the second public art work King worked alongside local Aboriginal ceramicist, Vic Chapman reinterpreting the Yaroma figtree story. This large mosaic work now sits where the original fig tree grew and depicts the Dreaming Story of Yaroma the hairy man who lived in the buttresses of the fig tree. 

King currently resides in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney where he set up the Blue Mountains Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in Katoomba in 2006 and is a Director of the Blue Mountains Aboriginal Culture and Resource Centre. Through this work King has been able to stage local exhibitions in which he also participates.

In 2005 and 2006 King was a finalist in the Parliament of NSW Indigenous Art Award held at NSW Parliament House, Sydney. In the 2006 show he won the inaugural College of Fine Arts Professional Development Award. This award offered King a residency at COFA and the chance to work with COFA staff in an art form of his choosing. King chose to work alongside printmaker, Michael Kempson, a collaboration that resulted in King’s first solo exhibition, Wantanganura, staged at COFAspace in October, 2007.