The exhibition ‘Passage, Navigation by the Stars’ is a solo show by Arone Meeks, a founding member of the Boomalli Aboriginal Arts Cooperative.
“I guess it’s about the journeys that I’ve undertaken, it’s symbolic of the stories I’ve collected over the years,” he said.
The retrospective draws on the last few years of Meeks work with communities in the Northern Peninsula Area of Queensland.
Alongside Cairns art gallery, UMI Arts, Meeks mentored and guided creative arts centres and artists in Yarrabah, Numapoon, Bamaga and Injinnoo. For Meeks it was about “developing the stories that are already there and growing them.”
The program sought to train up staff with TAFE qualifications to assist them in running the centres and can now boast nine graduates. Engaging one-on-one with the Far North Queensland arts community also brought a wealth of inspiration.
“It’s not your stereotypical style of Indigenous art… it’s not dot painting or x-ray painting but instead it draws on carving techniques and printing.”
Returning to Boomalli, which he helped start almost 30 years ago, is always a special moment for Meeks. He is a regular contributor and compiles a show for the gallery almost every year.
The artist has had both a traditional and formal education, having been taught by his grandfather and tribal elders of the Lardil people as well as studying at the City Art Institute in Sydney.
The show will be opened tonight by long-time friend and Archibald prize winning artist Euan Macleod. The pair collaborated on ‘East Coast Encounter’, a collection of work from Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists re-envisaging the first encounters between Aboriginal people and Captain James Cook in 1770.
The show runs from Thursday 11th August until Sunday 11th September.