The tribute series:
In April 2002, both Paddy Carroll and Michael Nelson visited Fire-Works gallery in Brisbane yet again for the opening of the newly relocated gallery warehouse space in new stead. Both artists attended a special artists’ lunch and completed a five-day workshop of new paintings and drawings. Paddy Carroll had long been interested in developing some experimental styles with the brush in an effort to increase his involvement and exposure. His energy levels were limited as he completed nine new works on paper and on linen. Paddy left a number of large canvases unfinished with only sketches of new designs in pencil on that might be completed in his next visit. We all anticipated seeing Paddy back in 6 weeks, and preparations were made for the annual Campfire Group exhibition to feature Paddy’s new works and designs. Unfortunately, Paddy died before he could return. He was in his late seventies and had indeed lived a full and interesting life.
In the weeks leading up to the Campfire show, it was decided that Campfire artists’ could “finish off” Paddy’s works and include alongside a selection of his others as a tribute to a unique Australian artist. Permission for this was gained from his family via conversations with Michael Nelson Jagamara. Indeed, his family was thrilled that he might be remembered in this way. Given that there had been a lot of attention with his work in the 1980’s, it was a timely reminder of how quickly the landscape of Aboriginal Art was changing in recent years.
Four canvases were accordingly painted as the tribute series for Paddy. Participating artists included Laurie Nilsen, Joanne Currie, Michael Eather and Richard Bell. Symbols including his Men’s Muliera initiation design, and Goanna Dreaming design were elaborated with form and colour to leave Paddy’s designs strong and vital in the way Paddy would have wanted it. He was fan of all the ‘new ways’ that Campfire Group were working and as long as his stories were also strong he remained excited with the new form of painting. “Good colour…. Paddy’s story!”