Some of Us
27 March - 7 June 2009
Lockhart River Art Gang
"Pama yarn kuku kunchiku ngarchi gung ngungku nharchi hgumpulungaku. National, International and Nharchi niyamana."
"I like painting, for me it is like a way to communicate to the national and international community; telling the stories of my people and country and also our neighbouring clans. We tell the sacred stories that are passed down by our ancestors."
- Patrick Butcher, Chairman, Lockhart River Arts Centre.
The Lockhart River Art Gang was formed in 1994 and is famous for the young and energetic group of artists who worked at the Lockhart River Arts and Culture Centre at that time.
Lockhart River is a remote Aboriginal Community on the east coast of Cape York in far north Queensland. It is about 850 km north of Cairns by road. During the wet season creeks and rivers flood and close the road into town from the highway. Sea and air are the only access at this time. In some wet seasons the road can be closed from December to June.
The community of about 600 people is located 2km from Quintal Beach in Lloyd Bay and is bounded by rainforest, low mountain ranges and the sea. The coastline is strung with sandy beaches where creeks and rivers enter the sea though mangrove protected estuaries.
The artists who work at the Arts Centre are known locally as the Art Gang. The Art Gang now includes "The Old Girls" older women who have taken the art world by storm with their sensitive, energetic paintings. The main works at the centre are paintings on canvas and fine art prints.
The Art Gang's work is a contemporary response to the environment, culture and traditions of this isolcated Aboriginal Community. It expresses some of the realities of being Aboriginal and the strong influences of traditional culture and values in their world. They have developed their own forms of expression which are very different from the art of other parts of Australia. The art from Lockhart River promotes the cultural identity of Aboriginal people in contemporary Australian culture.
The array of talent of the community is a testament of the success of the Lockhart River Art Gang.