Born: Thursday Island, QLD
LANGUAGE GROUP: Kanthanampu
COMMUNITY: Lockhart River, QLD
Irene Namok comes from Lockhart River in QLD, with family connections to Thursday Island. Irene is one of the leading established Lockhart River artists, and also mother of acclaimed Lockhart River artist, Rosella Namok.
Irene has a strong depth of cultural and traditional knowledge about her Country known as Kutini, which is Cassowary Country within the Iron Range in Lockhart River.
Irene's perspective intertwines art and tradition as a cultural and personal expression: Her paintings are full of the vibrant colour of her country, and in Irene's words, she paints "about her culture and her emotions"; she paints about what she knows:
"I like to play with the colours that blend and that's how I get the colours from the brightness of the sun, like morning sun, midday sun and afternoon sunset. I take it there now and put in on my linen and canvas, and plus we got water here and when the sun rises, it makes reflection on the saltwater at Sun Beach. That's where I get my inspiration. We get sunrise every day in front of beach."
Subjects that inspire Irene's artwork include the bush, bush fires, lagoons and waterholes. Interwoven with these are meeting places and special occasions or festivals. She paints an idyllic picture of the times where "we dress the kids up, paint them and then sit together and yarn round the campfire under the moonlight".
Irene has participated in many successful solo and group exhibitions, including exhibitions at the Booker Lowe Gallery in Texas USA (2010) and a solo exhibition at Redot Fine Art Gallery, Singapore (2014). At exhibition, Irene's works frequently sell out, and this is a measure of their extraordinary appeal.
For more information on Irene Namok, continue reading here: -
'I was born on Thursday Island and my grandfather was a church minister at the Old Site. I was going to get married but the man I was going to marry died. I had six kids, four boys and two girls but one of my kids died, so now I only have one daughter, Rosella.
I like to paint about my culture now because it's all I know. The old ones have taught me and shown me everything. I paint about the bush fires and water holes. I also paint the lagoons because we like to swim in the lagoons. I also paint about meeting times and festival times and meeting places. We dress the kids all up and paint them all and we sit together and we yarn around the fireplace under the moonlight. My paintings show my emotions about these times and places.' - Irene Namok