Rosella Namok: Regrowth
11 February – 19 March 2022
FireWorks Gallery, 9/31 Thompson St, Bowen Hills
Saturday 12 February 2022, 2-4pm
0418 192 845
Bringing a welcome sense of regeneration to the new year, FireWorks Gallery’s two-level premises will be taken over by renowned contemporary Indigenous artist Rosella Namok. Rosella, who blasted onto the art scene in the 1990s has managed to consistently reinvigorate her practice whilst staying true to herself and her heritage.
On display in the upstairs gallery, are Rosella’s new series of paperbark or Unchii tree paintings reframing the theme regrowth. These trees, found all over northern-coastal Queensland, are used as a symbol to express both seasonal and life changes. Visual impressions of the bark texture in rich duotone arrangements dominate these compositions. These recent works denote the botanic regrowth after bushfires and backburning (often required for germination) as a perpetual metaphor for personal development and cultural reflection.
A colourful new series of paintings presented in the ground floor gallery also reveals Rosella’s ties to north Queensland and in particular Lockhart River. Although Rosella currently resides in Cairns, many of her works show a great appreciation for having grown up in Lockhart River and having been taught the traditional (hunting & gathering) ways and culture by the old people. Paintings and sculpture on the ground floor explore this through themes of Mud Mussels/Akul (circular shapes), Mangroves (linear patterns) and Moieties.
Across many Aboriginal cultures moiety systems (referring to the two equally balanced social and ritual groupings) are used to organise social structures and kin relationships. For Ungkum people (Rosella’s clan) these are Kaapay and Kuyan. Through her choice of colour and composition Rosella explores the broader, universal dualities of life; the macro (lore & culture) and the micro (family & self), the traditional and the modern, and even the land and sea.
Associate Professor Sally Butler, who has worked extensively with Rosella over the last 30 years comments,
This latest exhibition of Rosella’s confirms her position as one of Australia’s greatest colourists. Her unique tonal method is renowned for evoking mood, meditation and inspiration but key works in this latest body of work remind us that she also has a simply electrifying sense of colour. In these high key works the canvases seem to lift off a wall and dominate a space with a contemporary vision of why Indigenous traditions and perspectives have a central place in all Australians’ lives.