Current Projects & Exhibitions

Daughters of Mary Immaculate (F.M.I. Sisters) of Vunapope, Australian War Memorial Commission

Detail of F.M.I Sisters, Ramale, Papua New Guinea (AWM archive) and marigold watercolour illustration, Lisa Hilli 2020 ©

Since mid 2018 I’ve been researching shared war history between Australia and Papua New Guinea as part of a creative commission for the Australian War Memorial, supported by the Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Fund. During a research period in Rabaul I discovered a little know history about the Daughters of Mary Immaculate or F.M.I Sisters of Vunapope Catholic Mission. The F.M.I. Sisters grew and carried food over grueling distances and at the risk of their own lives to many European and Australian interns held at Ramale under Japanese occupation of Rabaul during the Second World War. This artwork when completed seeks to identify and illuminate the history of the F.M.I. Sisters for their strength, labour, dedication and disobedience against Japanese military demands.

This new body of work will be exhibited publicly in an upcoming exhibition in 2021.

Transits & Returns | Vancouver Art Gallery

Installation view of Sisterhood Lifeline. Image Markus Ravik

Sisterhood Lifeline explores the visibility and invisibility of black women’s bodies, voices and identities  in Western cultural institutions. A creative response to institutional racism, Lisa’s most recent body of photographic work and audio installation portrays how women and queer identifying people survive and thrive in culturally and psychologically challenging spaces.  This work was lovingly supported and curated by Léuli Eshraghi and was commissioned for the co-curated group exhibition The Commute, Institute of Modern Art 2018.

Transit & Returns curated by Sarah Biscarra Dilley, Freja Carmichael, Léuli Eshraghi, Tarah Hogue, Lana Lopesi

Vancouver Art Gallery

28th September 2019 – January 26th 2020

A Tinata Tuna exhibition text by Lisa Hilli and Léuli Eshraghi – pdf


Capital | Ballarat International Foto Biennale

Trade and Transformation. Lisa Hilli
Detail of Two women facing the future, Duke of York Islands. (Where the First Missionary landed and first mission, Port Hunter, c.1882). 1000 mm x 733 mm, pigment print on cotton rag, glass beads, cotton thread. 2018. Photographer Reverend R. H. Rickard. 

Trade beads or slave beads, were used globally by European colonists as a mechanism for the exploitation of labour and goods, they were also used by missionaries for building rapport with indigenous people of the land. Artist Lisa Hilli explores the impacts and transformative effect that trade beads had upon her own people the Gunantuna (Tolai), during a precarious and hostile era of the late 1800’s and how materiality became a language, which was understood and valued by all.  For Capital, Lisa will present photographic work taken from her 2018 solo exhibition Trade & Transfomation

Capital is curated by Naomi Cass and Gareth Syvret

National Centre for Photography, Ballarat

23 August – 20 October 2019

Video produced by Blak Dot Gallery


HIAP | Helsinki International Artist Residency Program

Detail of Brazilian Lace, Rauma Lace Festival, Finland 2019

Lisa is currently artist in residence from 03 June – 29th August on Suomenlinna | Sveaborg. You can see what she’s up to on her Instagram profile here.

More information can be found on the HIAP website.

Interview for HIAP blog – Lisa Hilli Knitting in Finland

This residency is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.