Original Lockhart River Art Gang members Rosella Namok, Fiona Omeenyo, Patrick Butcher Jnr and Silas Hobson last week launched a new exhibition in Regional Victoria just days after achieving a record $90,000 in charity art sales; supporting the apolitical organisation Global Gardens for Peace in Melbourne. The brightly coloured Lockhart River paintings caused a fierce bidding war between the 150 plus art lovers who packed the house at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art last Friday. Works averaged a $5000 sale price with one of Rosella Namok’s powerful rain paintings achieving a $7,5000 final value.
Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery as the Victorian and rural NSW representative for the Lockhart River Artists underwrote the consignment of the 37 auction works. The gallery in turn released the paintings to GGFP with unsold works to be returned to AEG after an agreed private sales period following the auction.
Launching the exhibition Waanta Mukana – Our Many Yarns, Our Many Stories at De Bortoli Wines’ Rutherglen Estate the following Sunday, the artists met with a passionate group of art fans arriving to hear their personal stories and get an up close and personal, in-depth feel for their vibrant tropical landscape influenced art. The event was a focal point for a week of travel throughout Victoria, that also included a visit to the newly launched Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery space within Quest Albury on Townsend hotel.
Speaking of their unusual painting techniques, artist Rosella Namok’s explained how she uses her hands and special home made tools to paint her atmospheric rain and water paintings – scenes that show the Pacific Ocean waters in differing mood and light with streaked white heavy tropical rain drops layering the foreground.
Patrick Butcher Jnr outlined how his large scale colour field paintings are developed from 90 percent thought and just 10 percent painting; a task that he also performs with his hands. He also spoke about some of the toxins found in modern paints, such a heavy metal cadmium pigments in red paint, and how he chooses to be cautionary, tucking his hands within protected gloves.
In terms of Aboriginal story telling, artist Silas Hobson announced that the Lockhart River Gang collectively paint ‘new Dreamtime stories’, and that he’s proud to be able to extend the legacy of Aboriginal culture through his art.
Quest Albury on Townsend currently features over 70 art works on three levels, including a entry foyer and level one atrium gallery space currently showcasing Victorian artists Trevor Turbo Brown and Craig Charles. On site Rosella, Silas and Patrick were each introduced to newly named suites in their honour, showcasing their own work hanging within. A fourth suite showcasing Fiona Omeenyo’s figurative art was also celebrated in her absence.
Waanta Mukana – Our Many Yarns, Our Many Stories is currently on show at De Bortoli Rutheglen Estate until mid January, and the exhibition Dhungala (Trevor Turbo Brown and Craig Charle), along with other selected works from Jack Macale (WA), Patrick Butcher Jnr (Lockhart River), Michelle Possum (Central Desert) and more is now permanently on display at Quest. Entry to both gallery spaces is free.
Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery officially represents the Lockhart River Art Gang in Victoria and Regional NSW, and over the coming months will display more works from up to 28 Lockhart River painters within its venues that also include: Circa 1928 boutique hotel, Albury; plus a site within the Old Beechworth Gaol complex that has recently been converted to a community-owned, social enterprise. Forming an North East Aboriginal art trail, gallery founder Hans Sip aims to support Aboriginal artists with commercial sale opportunities and greater cultural awareness and art education across the region.
This week the Lockhart River Art Gang artists take home their share over $90,000 in art sale revenue, sharing the dollars as a 50/50 split with Global Gardens for Peace.
Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery
De Bortoli Rutherglen Estate – 13-35 Drummond Street, Rutherglen, Victoria
Old Beechworth Gaol – Cnr Williams Street & Ford St, Beechworth, Victoria
Quest Albury on Townsend – 450 Townsend Street, Albury, NSW
Circa 1928 – 588 Dean Street, Albury, NSW
Tel 0414 909 505