Puuya Kuntha - Strong Heart

ReDot Fine Art Gallery
Feb 27, 2014 8:56AM

The ReDot Fine Art Gallery is very proud to announce the first ever exhibition in Singapore from the Lockhart River Art Centre, which in recent years has gone through a major resurgence after bursting on the scene in the mid-90s with a staple of young, inspiring, modern focused Indigenous artists, painting in an extreme modern and western approach. 

The artists of Lockhart River Art Centre were identified from the very early years, both nationally and internationally, as “The Art Gang”. The Art Gang formed in 1995 with a group of young artists just out of school. In the same sense that those who worked on the roads were called the “The Road Gang”, this young group of teenagers worked on art.

Lockhart River Aboriginal community is 850kms north of Cairns and is nestled between Quintel Beach and nearby lush lowland rain forest, which boasts a bird life that draws watchers from across the world. The beach is dramatic and spectacular and features as a common thread in the artists' work.

Many of the language groups from this area have traditionally lived close to the beach which has always provided an excellent source of food. Fishing is still one of the most popular pastimes at Lockhart River.

Puuya Kuntha - Strong Heart, will be the first ever international solo show of Irene Namok, the mother of renowned founding Lockhart River artist Rosella Namok; whom in recent years has become an accomplished and highly collectable artist in her own right. Irene's paintings are inspired by her close connection with local country; they are often emotional responses to the beautiful views and look-outs around Lockhart and her favourite fishing spots, where Irene especially enjoys fishing during Salmon Season.

The extremely abstract nature of her work has been received with huge acclaim by the global art community and her two previous solo shows in Australia were both sold out as collectors strived to add her modernity to their Indigenous and contemporary art collections. Her works, which has been likened to the works of such greats like Gerhard Richter the abstract and photorealistic artist that took Europe by storm in the 60-70s, retains a freshness and intoxicating hold over its viewers which is remarkable given the untrained and natural origins of Irene’s painting career. 

Irene comments ‘I was born on Thursday Island and my grandfather was a church minister at the Old Site. I was going to get married but the man I was going to marry died. I have got six kids. Four boys and two girls, but one of my girls died so now I only have one.

I like to paint about my culture because it's all I know. The old ones have taught me and show me everything.

My paintings are about my emotions. I paint about the bush fires and the waterholes. I paint the lagoons because we like to swim in the lagoons. I also paint about meetings times and festivals times and meeting places. We dress the kids all up and paint them all and we sit together and we yarn around the fireplace under the moonlight.'

ReDot Fine Art Gallery