Indigenous Art Resources

Dennis Nona on show at the Australian Embassy in Paris.

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Published Saturday, May 6, 2006

The Queensland Government is presenting, from 7 April to 7 June 2006, an unpublished monographic exhibition of the works of Australian artist Dennis Nona, shown for the first time in France at the Australian Embassy, Paris.

This exhibition is organized by the Queensland Government through the Queensland Indigenous Arts Marketing and Export Agency (QIAMEA), Department of State Development, Trade and Innovation, Brisbane, Australia, in partnership with The Australian Art Print Network, Sydney. The curatorship has been given to Stéphane Jacob, French specialist of Aboriginal art (Arts d’Australie•Stéphane Jacob, Paris). The exhibition will present the recent work of this contemporary artist from one of the Indigenous communities of Australia, from Badu Island in the Torres Strait (north of the continent). The exhibition will be organised around fifty works in the print mediums of linocut, etching and lithography. Sculptural works in bronze will also be a featured highlight of the exhibition.

The work of Dennis Nona was justly qualified by the art critic Nicolas Rothwell, of the national newspaper The Australian, as the most intriguing work from the Northern capital*. Applying the drawings learnt from the traditional mask sculptors of the Torres Straits and their Papua New Guinea neighbours, Dennis Nona makes his works true epics to which the repetition of ancestral patterns brings artistic unity. Using an important number of visual and symbolic views, Dennis Nona displays traditional themes as well as contemporary events. Beyond its physical dimension, Dennis Nona also conceives his visual art work as a defence and illustration of the culture of his ancestral homelands. His complex patterns and daring figurative imagery, to which the Elders refer when they tell their stories to young people, play a crucial part in today's cultural revival.

Dennis Nona was born in 1973 on Badu, one of the tropical islands in the Torres Strait, is situated between the northern point of Australia and Papua New Guinea. After learning traditional wood sculpture during his childhood, he studied art at Cairns TAFE (School of decorative arts) and later, specializing in engraving, obtained a diploma of Visual Arts at the Institute of Art of the National Australian University, Canberra. He is currently undertaking a Master of Arts degree in Visual Arts at Griffith University, Brisbane. *in reference to the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Darwin, 2005. His chosen techniques are linocut prints and etchings as the texture of the paper, the manufacture procedures as well as the inks and pigments used seem to give more power to his oeuvre. From engraving to engraving unfolds a film more often in black and white or sometimes coloured into which the spectator enters easily.

Considered as one of the best representatives of Australian printmaking, Dennis Nona has influenced other emerging artists of his community. His works are present in most of the major Australian museums including the Queensland Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia as well as international galleries such as the Tate in London. They are regularly selected at the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. His prints notably were part of the benchmark exhibition Islands in the Sun: Prints by Indigenous Artists of the Oceanic Region at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra in 2001. This exhibition is part of the Queensland Government’s international promotion of Indigenous artists from that state. Mrs Penelope Wensley AO, Australian Ambassador to France, declared: It is a great pleasure to welcome this exhibition in preview of the opening of the Quai Branly museum, where eight Aboriginal artists participated in the creation of the architectural décor, including Judy Watson, from Queensland. The promotion of Australian Indigenous Art is an important priority for the Australian Embassy in France. This exhibition follows Sesserae: The Works of Dennis Nona of May 2005 in Brisbane (Dell Gallery, Griffith University) that retraced the artist’s steps through his first works. After Paris, Australia: The Young Man and the Sea. The Engraved Work of Dennis Nona will be presented in London.

Organisers: State Government of Queensland represented by the Queensland Indigenous Arts Marketing and Exports Agency (QIAMEA), Department of State Development, Trade and Innovation, Brisbane, Australia.

Further Information: More information about Denis Nona can be found by clicking here.

Partner: The Australian Art Print Network, Sydney, Australia.

Exhibition curator: Stéphane Jacob, gallery Arts d' Australie•Stéphane Jacob, Paris.

Sourced From a Press Release.

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