Artist Mia Boe’s Sunny Terrace Home

Images by Yaseera Moosa

This week on the IN BED Journal we visit artist Mia Boe at the terrace house she shares with three friends; Sam, Monika and Remi. Mia originally hails from Brisbane, with Butchulla and Burmese ancestry. Her work, which we've followed for quite some time, records and recovers indigenous histories and traces historical trauma and violence, drawing lines between past and present suffering of Aboriginal Australians. We spoke to Mia about bringing her important body of work to life, how her own history is interwoven into it and her own personal collection of art.

“I live in an old double-faced terrace home with three beautiful housemates. I moved here in September last year, in the first week of Melbourne’s sixth lockdown. In classic Melbourne-renting fashion, there are lots of flaws in the house like cracks in the walls and small-poky rooms — but it has a lot of charm! My favourite thing about the house would be the kitchen and backyard area. We all cook a lot in this house, so the massive stove and outdoor barbecue get a lot of use. We all spend a lot of time enjoying Melbourne’s long sunsets in the backyard eating and drinking.”

“My favourite thing about living in this area would be the safe and easy bike lanes that surround my area. There are also some amazing parks nearby — I’m about a 10-minute walk from Edinburgh Gardens and Princess Park. My favourite spot near me to eat and drink at is Gerald’s Bar on Rathdowne St. I’m in a great location for public transport so I can get around very easily.”

Mia’s bed is dressed in IN BED 100% linen in Dove Grey and Pinstripe Navy. Mia wears an IN BED Smock Dress in Kohl.

“All the furniture in my bedroom is very practical and no frills. My favourite things would be the old and very solid Georgian dresser I found last year on Facebook Marketplace, and the Planet Studio ‘K’ Desk lamp I found at a vintage lighting store on Lygon St.”

“I do have a very small but special collection of art in my room. I have a print from the amazing Quandamooka and South Sea Islander artist Kyra Mancktelow, framed by Frame of Mind. A piece by one of my favourite artists who is based in Meanjin, James Barth — who has the most unique and special process for marking. I have some of my own works, a ceramic piece by my talented friend Danielle Thiris, and a small vase by Naarm based artist Claudia Lau.”

“My favourite piece that I own is a very small painting that my mum gave to me a few years ago. I am unsure of the artist, but it is called ‘Bush Mother and Child’ and it sits on a wall in my bedroom. My housemates have amazing art and objects around the house that I love— the tiny wooden chair that Monika found at an op-shop that sits on the cabinet in our living room is particularly cute.”

“I painted a little bit from when I graduated high school in 2014 but rather than doing a Fine Arts degree, I studied a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Art History. It wasn’t until the start of 2020 that I started painting properly and committing all my time to it. I always knew I wanted my practice to be both personal and political, and so my first solo exhibition in 2021 looked at the history of the Queensland Native Police. I began research into the exterminationist history and found I had an ancestor who was a trooper in the police force. Since then I have always tried to include historical research into all of my exhibitions. I am Butchulla and Burma, the inheritance and 'disinheritance' of both of these cultures focus my work. I look at my family history and the history of both Indigenous Australia and Burma.”

“Three works [that are significant to me] are ones I made for the exhibition ‘on the bank on the brink’ at the Murray Art Museum Albury at the end of last year. I was invited by the curator and artist Beth Thornber to respond to the museum’s collections of the 19th century Kwatkwat artist Tommy McCrae’s drawings. I was able to visit the Albury/Wodonga area, where Tommy spent most of his life, and see where he and his family lived on Lake Moodemere.”

Two works by Mia titled ‘The Ashes Were Buried Under the Tree’ (above) and ‘The Nostalgia of Mother and Child’.

“Studio work is very lonely work, I’m by myself most days for about eight hours a day. So, when I leave the studio, I like to see friends for drinks at the pub, or have a meal with my housemates. This summer I have spent a lot of time going for swims at the pool and along the Yarra at various points in Warrandyte.”

[This year] I’m moving into a new studio at Gertrude Contemporary very soon, I’m so excited to be working around so many amazing artists. I’ve also decided to not have any exhibitions for the second half of the year so I can spend more time just making and experimenting without the need to have an end result. I have some very special projects coming up in 2023 but I can’t talk about them just yet — stay tuned!”