THE LOCKHART RIVER ART GANG 'UNCHARTED TERRITORY'
An exhibition of new works by Australia's Lockhart River Art Gang - Rosella Namok, Samantha Hobson, Fiona Omeenyo, Silas Hobson, Adrian King and Evelyn Sandy.
06 April - 06 May 2006
Following Rosella Namok's sell-out UK solo debut in 2004, the October Gallery and Andrew Baker present 'Uncharted Territory' the first London exhibition of the Lockhart River Art Gang, a unique collective of young Australian Aboriginal artists, from the remote Lockhart River Community on the east coast of the far northern tip of Queensland. These vibrant contemporary works are inspired by the beauty of the East Cape and informed by fast disappearing traditional beliefs, with darker references to the violence, social and health problems experienced by many Aboriginal peoples in isolated communities.
The Lockhart River Art Gang grew out of an alternative secondary school programme. Encouraged by Arts Centre staff the young artists set their sights high. The Art Centre soon became the nucleus for a dynamic school of creative development and quickly found itself marketing the artists' works, via a select number of commercial galleries, to the Australian fine art market.
The National Gallery of Australia; most Australian state gallery; and numerous other public, corporate and private collections have acquired works by the Art Gang. A number of the artists, particularly Rosella Namok, Samantha Hobson, Fiona Omeenyo, Adrian King and Silas Hobson have forged successful exhibiting careers in the metropolitan centres of Australia, as well as overseas.
The themes the Art Gang pursue include their individual, contemporary interpretations of the culture and traditions of their predecessors. Concepts such as country, law and ritual are interwoven in attempts to keep age-old customs alive. Dwelling in a tropical paradise and spending much of their time hunting, fishing and gathering traditional bush tucker; many of the artists' works are responses to the physical environment in which they live. The artists' lucid visions of the sea, the beach, the reef, the mountains and the rainforest all play a role in the discourse these young artists have with their viewing public.
Other works illuminate more contemporary concerns, exploring the difficult conditions under which Aboriginal people still labour today and make explicit reference to themes of violence, education, health, justice and the breakdown of traditional value systems in the often antagonistic modern world.
'Uncharted Territory is presented is presented in association with Andrew Baker, Art Dealer, Queensland