Arone Raymond Meeks
Australia, b.1957, d.2021
Kuku Midigi People
- Purchased, 2002
- 1270 x 1860 x 28mm
Tags: Oceanic, animals, birds (animals), celebrations, flowers (plants), monochrome, people (agents), plants (living organisms), sea turtles, seals (animals)
On the occasion of the artist's death in May 2021, this work was displayed with this label:
Arone Raymond Meeks was one of Australia’s most celebrated First Peoples artists, known for his fluid, multi-layered paintings, drawings and prints. He was also a teacher, Indigenous healthcare activist, book illustrator and co-founder of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, the first Australian Indigenous artists collective. A Kuku Midigi man, Meeks grew up in Far North Queensland, and he combined knowledge of traditional art practices passed on to him by his uncles and grandfather with Western-style arts training in Sydney.
“After graduating from art school, I soon discovered the mainstream art world had a very limited ideal about urban Indigenous artists. Our artwork was not deemed Black enough to be considered ‘traditional’ and not white enough to be considered ‘mainstream’” he later wrote. In response, Meeks and other Indigenous artists began to stage their own exhibitions, and he went on to develop a practice that was acclaimed within Australia and internationally.
Meeks’s works often focused on cultural interaction; firstly between Indigenous and white Australians, and later between Indigenous cultures. He created this expansive linocut to mark the centenary of Australia’s six states uniting as a Federation. Skilfully combining a rich variety of images, including human figures, marine life and native vegetation, it represents people and their activities as an integrated element of an abundant natural world.
The event being celebrated by this linocut was the centenary of Australia’s six states uniting as a Federation.
In this commissioned work Arone Raymond Meeks has skilfully combined a rich variety of images, including human figures, marine life and native Australian vegetation. People are represented as just one element of an abundant natural world.
Meeks was born in North Queensland and through family and tribal elders received a traditional education. He also studied at the City Art Institute in Sydney. A former member of the Boomalli Urban Aboriginal Artist’s Co-operative, Meeks won an Australia Council fellowship to study in Paris in 1989. He has exhibited work throughout Europe and North and South America.