Family b’long me 2001
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Redland Art Gallery Collection. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Andrew Baker, 2014.
Courtesy of the artist.
Photography by Carl Warner.
Born in 1979, Rosella Namok belongs to the Aangkum (Ungkum) language group and grew up in the Lockhart River region of Cape York Peninsula, far north Queensland. Namok’s career began in her late teens under the Lockhart River Art Gang, which emerged from the local cultural Centre managed by Fran and Geoff Barker. In the 1990’s a number of experienced and talented printmakers visited the Art Centre and fostered the young artists known as The Art Gang through workshops. Namok was the first artist from the group to exhibit solo in Sydney’s Hogarth Galleries in 1999 with her show Bout Here… Lockhart River. The successful exhibition gained her widespread recognition and put the Lockhart River Art Gang on the Australia Art Map.
In her paintings, Namok often portrays landscapes, weather patterns and narratives relating to her culture, Country and lived experiences. Her distinct painting method derives from sand drawing taught by her grandmother, and early childhood memories of helping her father decorate bodies of dancers. Namok would assist by smearing clay and using her fingers to create significant designs in preparation for traditional ceremonies. In her work, she continues to paint with her fingers onto canvas and incorporates a scraping technique to reveal the surface.