2023 Cultural Residency

The 2023 cultural resident was Hozaus Claire - a Bunuba/Gooniyandi man, young community leader and artist from the Kimberly. 

The 2023 cultural resident was Hozaus Claire - a Bunuba/Gooniyandi man, young community leader and artist from the Kimberly.  

As part of his residency, Hozaus travelled to Canberra where he worked on a large canvas depicting the Martuwarra Fitzroy River, and took part in several activities with the IWF community such as a fireside yarn and river walk.

“Traveling here to Canberra for this residency and meeting all these people is important to me,” said Hozaus.  “Knowing that it’s not only our First Nations People who are fighting for the environment and Country, but non-Indigenous people too, it’s really encouraging.” 

Growing up in Fitzroy Crossing, the Martuwarra Fitzroy River was always central to Hozaus’ life.  Since childhood, he lived alongside his Elders’ stories of the river.  As well as teaching him to paint, Hozaus’ grandfather instilled in him the idea that the river must be revered and protected.  

“I have spent my whole life learning about the river in Fitzroy Crossing, and still today I am learning. It’s been one of my favourite activities since I was a kid.” 

As the years passed, Hozaus realised that the river and Country were not always treated as they should, and he saw the distress this caused his Elders.  This inspired him to speak up for change. Using art and social media, he started to share the story of Martuwarra with people around Australia. 

Hozaus now works with the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council and Nulungu Institute of Research, University of Notre Dame as a Martuwarra River Keeper Community Researcher.  As a River Keeper,  Hozaus uses his creativity to communicate why the Martuwarra Fitzroy River is deserving of love, protection, and promotion.  

Hozaus also works closely with young people in his community, helping to empower children and teenagers with the support to live happy and vibrant lives, contribute positively to the community and pass on their culture to future generations.   

“I do whatever it takes to put my story out there to young people. This applies to non-indigenous people too; we need to understand and tell each other's stories using the unique skills we have.  

The future is all about indigenous and non-indigenous young people learning together and sharing both ways.” 



Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian National University acknowledges, celebrates and pays our respects to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people of the Canberra region and to all First Nations Australians on whose traditional lands we meet and work, and whose cultures are among the oldest continuing cultures in human history.