Ina orou | Connect

Lisa Hilli creates and curates kick arse exhibitions that shift narratives and art histories with a Melanesian feminine lens. She has specialist knowledge of lens-based practices, interpretation of museum collections and the language of textiles. Her creativity is sparked by digging through archives, listening to human stories and, lucid dream states. She is driven to empower individuals and communities whose stories and knowledges are overlooked and to arm them with skills to share their stories their way. She is thoughtful, curious, and led by the important Pacific cultural value of reciprocity. Lisa is obsessed by the wondrous worlds of animated films and the joy and wisdom of growing plants.

Photographer Atong Atem

Lisa is currently pursuing a PhD by creative works in the School of Culture, History & Language, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University.


All content on this website is copyright of the artist, unless stated otherwise. For all reproductions or image usage of any artistic or intellectual content on this website, Prior permission is to be granted explicitly by the artist.

Birds of a Feather 2022

Birds of a Feather celebrates the resilience of Papua New Guinean women through the story of Dame Meg Taylor, the first woman from Papua New Guinea to receive a degree from the University of Melbourne Law School and most recently Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General. Composed of images of the feathers of PNG’s national bird, ‘kumul’ (bird of paradise), the artwork honours a significant figure who continues to inspire and empower women to navigate their role in contemporary PNG society. Accompanied by the calls of the birds of paradise, Hilli embeds Taylor’s voice into a series of digital prints that weave through the cloisters of Old Quad, culminating in a major fabric installation in Treasury Gallery. 

Commissioned by the Potter Foundation, University of Melbourne for Collective Unease Exhibition, curated by Samantha Comte and Jacquline Doughty.

Collective Unease Exhibition – 22 September 2022 – 02 June 2023

F.M.I. Sisters of Vunapope

Australian War Memorial Commission (2018-2020)

At the risk of their own lives, the F.M.I. Sisters dedicated themselves to providing locally grown produce to Australian, European and Unserdeutsch children who were held captive at Ramale prisoner of war camp for almost three years. As an Australian War Memorial commissioned artist, I chose to highlight war histories that relate to women, in particular Papua New Guinean women. Photographed inside the liberated camp in 1945, twelve F.M.I. Sisters are veiled and adorned with flowers that reference some of the seventeen nationalities among the 300 civilians whom they helped keep alive at Ramale during the Second World War. Forty-five black cinctures honour the efforts and make visible the names of the F.M.I. Sisters.

F.M.I. Sisters of Vunapope, Framed and mounted inkjet print on cotton rag 970 mm  x 1150 mm. 2020.

Media & Reviews

‘It was a real labour of love’ Australian War Memorial Blog

Pacific Beat, ABC Radio Australia Interview. Broadcast 22 September 2020

Reflections on Lisa Hilli’s keynote for the ‘Sharing Pacific Lives in Australia’ workshop, The New Outrigger

Header image: Detail of 45 cinctures. Cotton and wool yarn. 4 meters x 4cm.

Trade & Transformation

Solo Exhibition Blak Dot Gallery 2018

Trade beads or slave beads were used globally by European colonists as a mechanism for the exploitation of labour and goods. Glass beads and other imported materials were also used historically by missionaries and merchant traders for building rapport with indigenous people across Papua New Guinea. Through her solo exhibition, artist Lisa Hilli explores the impacts and transformative effect that trade beads had upon her own people the Tolai / Gunantuna, during a precarious and hostile era of the late 1800’s and how materiality became a language, which was understood and valued by all.

Media & Reviews

Dress Code Review – Artlink, Ann Finegan

Exhibition & Artist interview – Blak Dot Gallery

Selected Artworks Exhibited

2021-2022 Observance Buxton Contemporary

2019 Capital Ballarat Foto Biennale

2018 Dress Code Museum of Brisbane

2018 Solo show Blak Dot Gallery


Collective of labourer’s & beaders: Cathy Hilli, Léuli Eshraghi, Eddy Carroll, Pauline Vetuna, Kevin Murray, Kim Kruger, Savanna Kruger, Kalissa Alexeyeff, Travis Cox, Kirsten Lyttle, Aunty Lila Heimann, Tray Hudson, Gina Ropiha, Talava Tuhipa-Turner, Jacinta Crocker.

Thank you to Kimba Thompson, Blak Dot Gallery and Testing Grounds for supporting the development of this work during an artist residency called Trade Stories  in January 2018. A part of the research of this exhibition was supported by a Museums Victoria 1854 scholarship in 2016.

Kurkurua | Adornment

Damien Kereku, Vunalagir Vunatarari, Tolai People 2015.

The midi (middi) is part of a group of body adornments specific to Gunantuna culture called Kurkurua, some of which were impacted and culturally transformed through colonialism, religion and trade in the late 19th century. Discovering midi’s in Australian and international museums became the focus of my MFA by Research at RMIT University. Read more here…

Midi (Middi), cane, jute fibre, nassa shells, 42cms, 2015. Photo Keelan O’Hehir
Raim Paraide, Makuratagete Vunatarai, Tolai people 2015
Vunatarai (matrilineal) Armour, paper tags, photographs,cotton, steel clasps 2015. Photo Keelan O’Hehir

Selected Works Exhibited

No 1 Neighbour: Art in Papua new Guinea 1966 – 2016 Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art 2016-17

Masters of Fine Art by examination exhibition 2016

Vai Niu Wai Niu, Coconut Water, Caboolture Regional Art Gallery 2015


Embodied History, Quarterly Essay Garland Magazine 2017