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On the Land (Ancestors preparing for ceremony) AP

archival ink on polycotton


N THE LAND series

The first form of art I did as a paid job was advertising for supermarkets.  I created posters for shop window displays which promoted new products and special offers.  I honed my skills and became adept at creating eye-catching posters which brought customers through the door.  This work taught me the importance of balancing colour, composition and text to engage the viewer, drawing them to make a personal connection with what was on the poster.  Advertising and fine art must both have a high degree of novelty to be noticed in the first place, and the technical sophistication to elicit a response in the viewer without offending them.  I have always maintained you catch more flies with honey and I like to seduce the viewer, giving them a pleasurable experience while simultaneously communicating personal and cultural imperatives.  Without my background in advertising I don’t think I would have such an insight into how the audience responds to visual stimuli.

Capturing the viewers imagination will create within them curiosity and motivate them to discover more about your art and the stories behind it. This is my goal in the series of black and white paintings, On the Land, which depicts the daily and historical life of my people, Kurtjar, on the Gulf of Carpentaria.  So little is known about Indigenous culture on the Gulf, and many people don’t even know where the Gulf is.  By painting scenes of contemporary working life, leisure pursuits and important historical themes, I am creating an awareness of our people and their enduring presence and great achievements on their traditional land.  These achievements include running and owning the Delta Downs cattle station, one of the largest and the only wholly Indigenous owned and managed cattle station in Australia. 


Courtesy of the artist and Katrina Chapman

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