Arone Meeks Memorial (1957-2021)
Arone Meeks was born in Sydney in 1957, but grew up in Cairns. Meeks was as a founding artist of the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative founded in 1987 in Sydney and initiated the annual NAIDOC exhibition at the Tanks Art Centre in Cairns. Meeks has been a prominent cultural anchor in the region of Tropical North Queensland for many years, he has left an extraordinary artistic legacy and led an impressive life of social commitment in numerous areas such as teaching, health, and First Nations issues, all of which informed the breadth and depth of his art practice.
Ancient Journeys exhibiting Cathy Snow
Cathy Snow was born into the Gkuathaarn clan in Normanton, in the Gulf of Carpentaria. She spent her childhood on Magowra Station, on her mother’s country. Her bush name, Maljah, means lightning and comes from her grandmother’s dreaming. Later in life she leaned that her grandfather’s name meant floodwaters. This knowledge inspired her to create artworks about water and water themes, including salt and freshwater mussels, water birds and plants, and the complex patterning of tidal water marks.
For Cathy, the ability to share her stories and culture through her art, particularly with her children and grandchildren, is profoundly important and rewarding. "My art allows me to express my culture, my love of and connection with the land. The use of my trademark colours, red and black, express my appreciation for the land, the sea, and my youth."
Cathy is passionate about sharing culture and stories with wider audiences and says that every day she is excited by the challenges of creating a new artwork which can inspire other Indigenous artists to follow their dreams and keep their culture strong.
Bana Yirriji Art Centre (Wujal Wujal)
Bana Yirriji Art Centre represents artists from the Yalanji, Nyungkul and Jalunji clan groups.
Bama (local people) have had a long history of artistic expression, including ceremonial body painting, weavings made from local plants, rainforest shields and weaponry decorated with clan designs using earth pigments.
Today, artists create stunning contemporary arts and crafts; including paintings, prints, works on paper, textiles, weavings, artefacts and a range of merchandise. Artists draw on their rich cultural, historic, and contemporary stories and profound connection to country as inspiration.
Bana Yirriji Art Centre supplies artists with professional quality art materials and runs a studio space. All artworks sold come with an artwork certificate and artist biography.
Showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from tropical Far North Queensland, Australia, working in a variety of print mediums to give voice to a multitude of stories.
All prints produced in collaboration with Editions Tremblay NFP print studio in Cairns. After several years operating a physical gallery, Canopy Art Centre in Cairns, with its in-house print workshop, and establishing a loyal clientele and a reputation for printmaking excellence – many of the featured artists are in major state and national collections – we now operate exclusively online.
We celebrate Australia’s ancient indigenous cultures and share their unique stories with the world.
Printmaking has been central to my career in the arts, it has given me opportunity to print for many artists. This interaction, and sometimes collaboration with so many gifted artists has been rewarding and educational. I currently operate Corvine Art Studio, in Brisbane.
Early in my art education I began utilizing visual scholarship to articulate a critique of Australian society. My identity derives from a ‘settler’ Australian heritage, and Indigenous Dalungbarra heritage. My great-great-grandmother was known as Mary Anne Dalungdalee, of the Dalungbarra, who was born at Wanggoolba Creek on K’gari, or Fraser Island in the early 1800s.
My Dalungbarra heritage informs my art process and work, is the resolve that drives my visual practice.
Girringun Art Centre (Cardwell)
Emerging from the rainforest canopy and a culture spanning countless generations, the work of Girringun artists is attracting a lot of attention.
Established in 2008, the Girringun Art Centre is home to multi-award winning artists and craftsmen. Located in Cardwell, Queensland, Girringun represents artists from nine Traditional Owner Groups: the Nywaigi, Gugu Badhan, Warrgamay, Warungnu, Bandjin, Girramay, Gulngay, Jirrbal and Djiru people.
The traditional country of these groups covers some 25,000 square kilometres of country in the state's far-North. Objects from this country are significantly different from those of much of the rest of Australia. Weaving is done by both men and women, and the diversity of resources between land and sea have resulted in a vast array of implements being crafted for use.
A living functioning art centre, it is not unusual to see artists in the workshop developing new work and honing their craft. The stories and environments of this ancient culture are being transformed daily into visual images and designs by weavers, painters, potters, textile artists and makers of traditional objects. These artists bring to life the unique cultural story and expression of the distinctive Aboriginal rainforest art traditions and culture of the Girringun region, to share with the world.
Hopevale Arts & Culture Centre
Hopevale Arts and Culture Centre is located in the community of Hopevale, Cape York, in Far North Queensland. It was established in 2009 as an extension of the community’s longstanding interest in and commitment to the visual arts.
The practice of the Guugu Yimithir artists is characterised by bold, bright, contemporary paintings and prints, as well as traditional fibre baskets used as forms of storytelling and cultural communication.
Hopevale Arts and Culture Centre provides regular artist residencies and professional development opportunities for all artists in their chosen field. The Art Centre operates as a cultural hub, coordinating a range of activities for members of the community.
The Art Centre supports intergenerational cultural sharing and maintenance for the whole community, providing professional artistic support for the artists. It is governed by an Indigenous board of directors and made up of 90 members. Weekend visits to the Art Centre are by appointment only.
Laura Quinkan Dance Festival
Through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) and the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival, CIAF has committed to showcasing the works featured in the Dance Festival's Cape York Acquisitive Art Award exhibition (held on site over the festival).
Lisa Michl Ko-manggén OAM (Born: 1977 in Cairns, Queensland Language Group: Kokotharpal Clan Group: Kokoberrin Area: Central Western Cape York Peninsula Homelands: Pinnarinch Community: Cairns - Kowanyama – Normanton Clan story place: Water Fairy Totem Name: Ko-manggén) is a celebrated Kokoberrin artist from Central Western Cape York Peninsula in Queensland Australia.
Lisa is of the Kokoberrin language group and her homelands on her mother’s and grandmother’s side are known as Pinnarinch and stretch between Staaten River National Park in the south and north to Nassau River, including Wyabba Creek and Dorunda Lodge area. The beautiful and remote lands of Pinnarinch encompass several important Clan Story Places with Komanggén being one of them. In Kokoberrin language Ko-manggén means “Saltwater catfish”. This totem name was given to Lisa by her great grandfather, the most senior Kokoberrin elder and lore man.
Today the Kokoberrin reside mainly in Kowanyama, Normanton and other north Queensland communities where strengthening and maintaining cultural practice is achieved through a variety of activities. On her father’s side, Lisa has links to the Czech Republic in Europe where her extraordinary paintings have been exhibited to wide acclaim. Lisa’s beautifully coloured earth tone paintings present intricate forms and bold designs that have found favour among collectors in the USA, Canada and Europe. Closer to home, Lisa has shown her works in prominent Australian exhibitions such as The RAKA Award, Story Place, Indigenous Art of the Cape York & Rainforest and Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and her works have been selected for the prestigious National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award.
Lisa has been practicing visual arts for 23 years and over this time her works have been inspired by her memories of time spent on country with her Kokoberrin family. Lisa’s artworks can be found in the collections of the Australian Embassy in Germany, Australian ArtBank, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, Parliament House and Cairns Regional Gallery and Pullman Cairns International.
Karen Reys & Susan Reys
The artists’ practice sees an exploration of their cultural and spiritual identity. In the collaborative exhibition titled ‘Sacred’ the sisters Karen and Susan Reys, as fifth generations removed from their family’s ancestral land, examine their spiritual connection to this land.
The sculpture ‘Coming Full Circle’ is the centre-piece in this exhibition. The sisters tune in with guidance and follow no matter what they do to fulfil their souls life purpose. The Aboriginal spiritual practice that is listening deeply to self, others and the environment, over a twenty-year art practice, has helped the sisters to establish a true sense of place and belonging. Moving through each of the challenges presented to a place of inner healing and wholeness.
The artworks in the exhibition share the story of Karen and Susan’s connection to the Songlines that is their birth rite on Country. The contemporary stories come from their lived experiences that intertwine and connect them back to the Dreaming. The dreams, visions, epiphanies and spiritual awakenings told in the landscape trace the lives of family and histories over the generations. The three stories central to the exhibition are the Dreaming of ‘Three Sisters’, ‘Mother’s Love’, and ‘Little Bird’ about a lost soul that didn’t know how to fly. The title of art works in the exhibition are songs by Enya, Boy Zone and Uncle Bob Randall. For the artists, the lyrics carry sacred messages that over time has helped them to connect spiritually and to find their way back home.
The journey of the ‘Three Sisters’ continues to still unfold today. They are beginning to document their stories for the preservation of their culture and for future generations.
Moa Arts is the trading name of Ngalmun Lagau Minaral, which means ‘our island’s design’.
We are an Indigenous owned and operated Art Centre on Mua Island in the western cluster of Zenadth Kes – the Torres Strait.
Through our artwork we keep Mualgal traditions and Zenadth Kes arts and culture strong for everyone.
Creative inspiration for the work at Moa Arts comes from Mualgal ancestral stories, totemic representation and connections to sea, land, sky and family. Mua’s artists don’t have to look far to be inspired. The island and its surrounding waters and reefs hold a diverse set of land and marine ecosystems with niches for many rare and unique species such as dugong and sea turtle.
Moa Arts’ reputation is built on the caliber of its limited edition lino prints and etchings, works on paper, woven baskets and bags and traditional island style jewellery – beaded necklaces and earrings.
Everything is made on Moa Island and the proceeds of our sales go back directly to our artists and developing creative programs to support the community.
Palm Island Artists: Agnes Wotton & Josh Friday
My name is Agnes Wotton I've lived on Palm Island all my life. My Mother gave birth to me in 1971 I was born and raised on Palm. My Mother is a Kuku Indinji Woman and my Father is a Kuku Yalanji Man. In 1975 I went to kindergarten & there I discovered the love for colours. Red and blue were my favourite colours at the time. I've since had the privilege to work with some of the organisations on the Island the Primary Healthcare Centre on Palm Island working with the health centre in developing an 'app' with one of my artworks they have brought off me. I worked with Gabrielli Construction in 2019, also privileged to work with Urban Art Projects, Museum of Underwater Art 2021 this year. In 2020 I also won the people's Choice Award at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair. Palm Island has got some stunning views and beautiful sceneries. When it rains everything come to life, the island goes green, the whales come to visit. All the tropical birds come in clusters to Dunk Island, the blue butterfly also comes to visit the Island. The sunset sets in the West, as the sun goes down it changes colour like the Chameleon. That's the only way I could explain the sunset as it goes down in the West. I've been painting for 18 years. I got my first breakthrough at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair in the year 2019. Art is a way of expressing myself and escaping from reality; it gives me peace of mind. My goal in life is to run a workshop on the island and also be a well-known artists in the country. And also help others to find their dreams.
Agnes' works are displayed alongside fellow Palm Island artist, Josh Friday, in a vibrant insight into the artistic prowess of their peoples.
Ngethn-o' Kowanyama Art Project
‘Ngethn-o’ starts with the work of the men’s shield project’s artists Craig, Billy, Thakvthew, and Dennis, and ends with paintings by Fayleen Jimmy, Matilda Aidan, Priscilla Major, Noleen Cecil, Chrissy Adian, and Tania Major.
“ Ngethn o' “ is pronounced, “ngeth-n-oh”. It is a traditional expression used as a call to ancestors when entering and/or introducing strangers to Country. It means 'we are here' and is a respectful acknowledgement, with permission sought and gratitude felt, for the land and water that connects us all. It is likewise a celebration of the fact that as an Aboriginal community we truly are still here.
As a group thematic exhibition, Ngethn-o’ displays Kowanyama’s local heritage history and traditions practiced in traditional and modern ways. It will hopefully create resonance and wonder, as an exhibition of this type and scale has not been shown before. How much more of the heritage gifted to us by ancestor must be lost? When will it be realised that the value and beauty of that cultural heritage enriches the identity of Kowanyama as well as the entire Australian nation?
Paul Bong (aka Bindur Bullin), is a descendant of the Yidinji tribe who occupied the fertile rainforest lands from Cairns in the north to Babinda in the south and west into the Atherton Tablelands as far as Kairi. His ancestral history is rooted in this region. Bong's great-grandparents were both tribal elders, when all the lands were Yidinji. His father, George, also knew the traditional ways of living. He spoke the Yidinji language (Yidiny), though he wasn’t allowed to speak it when he went to school. George was forced to reject the traditional ways and to assimilate into white society. This broke the continuity of Bong's culture, language and heritage from being passed down through the generations.
Bong grew up around the Yattee area near Wright Creek in Far North Queensland. He is driven to regain the stories and culture that was lost to European settlement and to share what was lost through his work. His grandmother, who spoke Yidiny, taught Bong stories and legends about the rainforest – its bush food, animals, young warriors and special places such as Babinda Boulders and the Gordonvale Pyramid. These stories are the inspiration for many of his works. Bong incorporates traditional designs with modern techniques with each design having its own spiritual meaning.
Pormpuraaw Art & Culture Centre
Pormpuraaw Art & Culture Centre artists are masters of sculpting clan totems using ghost net and other recycled materials. Ghost nets are commercial fishing nets illegally abandoned at sea. These nets drift the worlds oceans killing fish and animals.
Pormpuraaw artists collect these nets and transform them into meaningful art. Their art has toured the world and has found its way into many private, corporate and government collections. Pormpuraaw artists are also know as skilled painters and printers working in linocut and etching. Works are available through their online store and website.
Pormpuraaw can be reached by small aircraft five days a week leaving from Cairns. Driving there takes a sturdy vehicle and 8 to 10 hours from Cairns about 700km. It is a beautiful drive through Cape York Outback. Road access is usually shut or limited during the five month wet season from January into May.
NorthSite Contemporary Arts
In 2020, NorthSite Contemporary Arts (formerly KickArts) relaunches within Bulmba-ja Arts Centre (formerly Centre of Contemporary Arts) in Cairns. About NorthSite formerly KickArts Cairns.
As a key company (one of few independent contemporary visual arts institutions north of Brisbane), this organisation has advocated, demonstrated resilience and excellence over decades, championing artists of the North and presenting boundary-pushing programs through an experimental ethos relevant to a wide region.
We work across disciplines (visual art, craft, design, sound, performance & screen media), in collaboration with individual artists, Indigenous-led art centres, other galleries, touring bodies and partnering companies to realise 30+ exhibitions and 150 programs each year; often presenting a diversity of work unseen elsewhere in Australia.
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
Established in Sydney in 1982, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery has a rich history of supporting contemporary art, having fostered the careers of some of the most influential Australian artists working today, including Tracey Moffatt, David Noonan, Fiona Hall, Patricia Piccinini, Bill Henson and Dale Frank.
Gallery artists have consistently been selected for biennales and significant international survey exhibitions. Thirteen gallery artists have represented their country at the Venice Biennale, including: Tracey Moffatt (Australia, 2017); Fiona Hall (Australia, 2015); Bill Culbert (New Zealand, 2013); Hany Armanious (Australia, 2011); Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro (Australia, 2009); Callum Morton (Australia, 2007); and Patricia Piccinini (Australia, 2003); Bill Henson (Australia, 1995); Jenny Watson (Australia, 1993); Imants Tillers (Australia, 1986); Rosalie Gascoigne (Australia, 1982). Four gallery artists have been exhibited in dOCUMENTA including Fiona Hall (2012), Destiny Deacon (2002), Tony Clark (1992) and Imants Tillers (1982). Dale Frank and Bill Henson were both selected for the Venice Biennale Aperto in 1986 and 1988 respectively.
As one of the most well-established Australian commercial art galleries, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery has been exhibiting at international art fairs for more than 25 years and is committed to presenting a diverse schedule of exhibitions by international artists. The gallery program includes presentations by Mark Newson, Pierre et Gilles, Erwin Olaf, Robert Mapplethorpe, the Young British Artists, Moriko Mori, Elmgreen and Dragset, Tracey Emin, Hernan Bas, Michael Bell-Smith, Isaac Julien, Yayoi Kusama, Wim Delvoye, Tatzu Nishi and Jim Lambie. The gallery continues to foster the careers of younger artists whilst maintaining a dynamic exhibition program that represents established and international artists.
Simone Arnol’s art (her clothing designs, painting, photography, and sculpture) reflect her passion for nature and her respect for the keepers of knowledge, as she draws of inspiration from the Elders and the Traditional Owners that have been a part of her life and career.
Born and raised in Cairns of an Aboriginal father, a Gunggandji man, and a mother of Sicilian heritage, she uses their strong and powerful stories as her inspiration.
For the past several years Simone drive and passion to explore her artistic styles and practice is one where she is constantly exploring and experimenting with different mediums. She is also the current manager of the Yarrabah Art Centre. All the while making great strides in new artforms and being celebrated for her unique outlooks and diversity-in-skill.
Toby Cedar is a proud Torres Strait Islander man and is well known for his traditional and contemporary artistic practices and is a finalist in the 2021 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.
Toby's newer collection of works continue his unique style, expert craftsmanship and express his continued connection to, and practice of, culture.
Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts
Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts is an independent platform for contemporary and experimental arts practice operating on Gurambilbarra Wulgurukaba and Bindal Country (Townsville, North Queensland). Umbrella was established in 1986 as a working studio and artist-run initiative by a group of emerging Townsville artists. Since those early years Umbrella has been transformed from an artist collective, offering practical studio-based facilities, to a funded and professionally managed members-based contemporary arts organisation. Umbrella runs annual program of onsite and touring exhibitions, public programs, arts residencies, makerspace access, professional development programs, special events and a biannual festival, Pop Up North Queensland (PUNQ). Umbrella is integral to our region’s thriving culture and creative economy.
Mission: To express and amplify our distinctive and authentic North Queensland voice.
Vision: To be an inclusive platform for independent, experimental contemporary arts practice in North Queensland.
UMI Arts was established in 2005 and its mission is to operate an Indigenous organisation that assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate in the maintenance, preservation and protection of cultural identity.
UMI Arts also operates as the Cairns Indigenous Art Centre in order to provide support for Indigenous artists who live and work in Cairns.
At the broadest level, UMI Arts’ goal is to strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practices, including visual arts and crafts, dance, ceremony, story telling and music.
UMI is a Creole word that means ‘You and Me’ – for UMI Arts this is significant as we believe that we need to work together to keep our culture strong.
Wik & Kugu Art Centre (Aurukun)
The Wik and Kugu Arts and Crafts Centre is located in Aurukun – a small, remote Indigenous community on the north-west tip of Cape York Peninsula. The gallery is an important cultural centre focused on authentic and high quality Indigenous sculpture and fibre art. There has been an art centre at Aurukun for over fifty years and it provides artistic and commercial support for local artists. The Centre is best known for its iconic sculptures of camp dogs, made from locally sourced milky pine. These works are made through carving and painting techniques based on body painting designs, using a variety of paint. Many of the designs are based on totems belonging to family members.