Trevor Turbo Brown

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DOB: 1967 - 2017
Born: Mildura, VIC
COMMUNITY: Latje Latje

Trevor 'Turbo' Brown was a Latje Latje man who was born in 1967 and grew up in Mildura, a regional city in North Western Victoria. Born with an intellectual disability and abandoned by his family at a young age, he spent much of his youth homeless.

By 1982, Turbo was slipping into alcohol abuse and crime when a local policeman introduced him to Uncle Herb Batten and his wife, Aunty Bunta. They adopted Turbo and moved to Melbourne where he took up boxing and became a keen rapper and breakdancer. His nickname 'Turbo' began at this time and is the name of a lead character in the breakdancing film 'Breakin' (1984).

In 2001, Uncle Herb and Aunty Bunta enrolled in a diploma of visual arts at the Bundoora RMIT campus and took Turbo along. It was clear from early on that Turbo had an exceptional talent for being able to express on canvas the stories and images in his mind. In just a few years, Aunty Bunta and Uncle Herb could see that art had transformed Turbo's life.

Turbo painted animals because, as he told Uncle Herb, when he was a teenager living on the Mildura streets and the Murray River bank, the animals were his only friends. Turbo's work may seem naive in the simplicity of form, but there is an incredible energy in the dynamic composition, colour and line. Using bright colours and bold outlines, he usually worked on a large scale and painted quickly using unmixed acrylic paint. His engaging pictorial style and distinctive creatures from the dreamtime made his works pulsate with an irresistible and syncopated beat.

By 2005 Turbo already had his first solo exhibition in Melbourne, a sell-out, completed a Diploma of Visual Arts at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and was a finalist in Australia's biggest Indigenous art prize, the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Award. Building on that, Turbo achieved substantial recognition for his bold and innovative style and carved out a significant exhibition history. He was been a finalist in the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Award three times and was also the recipient of the Deadly Award, Victoria's highest honour for an Indigenous artist, at the 2012 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards.

In 2006, Turbo was included in 'Landmarks' - an exhibition curated by Judith Ryan and Stephen Gilchrist - at the National Gallery of Victoria. Judith Ryan, senior curator of Indigenous Art, commented at the time that he produces work "of energy and integrity that is strongly expressive of his cultural identity".

In 2007, Turbo was part of 'Culture Warriors' the inaugural National Indigenous Art Triennial curated by Brenda Croft. He also exhibited at the prestigious Rebecca Hossack Gallery in London and was included in 'Gori-lla', a show of approximately 90 Indigenous Australian artists in Italy.

Turbo passed away suddenly in early 2017, aged just 49.






Collections

  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • Koorie Heritage Trust
  • Broadmeadows Health Service
  • St Vincent's Health Australia
  • Artbank
  • The Henderson Family Collection, Sydney

Awards and Recognition:

2016 Cossack Art Awards - Highly Commended
2015 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards - Finalist
2013 One of three artists selected for mural Brunswick Kind in Sparta Place, Brunswick VIC
2012 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards - Winner
2008 25th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2006 23th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2005 22th NATSIAA, Darwin - Finalist
2004 City of Darebin DATSIC Award Gumbri Exhibition Bundoora Homestead

History

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

2014 Trevor Turbo Brown, deadly depictions of the dreamtime, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2013 Last Man Standing, Bunjilaka Cultural Centre, Victorian Museum, Melbourne
2012 Trevor Turbo Brown, New Works, Rex-Livingston Art Dealer, Sydney
2011 Turbo's Hungry Birds, ARTWORLD.tv Gallery, Melbourne
2011 Trevor Turbo Brown, New Works, Rex-Livingston Art Dealer, Sydney
2010 Trevor Turbo Brown, Dreamtime Animals, Boscia Galleries, Melbourne
2010 Trevor Turbo Brown, New Works, Rex-Livingston Art Dealer, Sydney
2009 Trevor Turbo Brown - Friends and Family Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
2009 Trevor Turbo Brown, New Works, Rex-Livingston Art Dealer, Sydney
2008 Trevor Turbo Brown, New Works, Australia Dreaming Art, Melbourne
2008 Trevor Turbo Brown, Animals from the Dreamtime, Rex-Livingston Art Dealer, Sydney
2007 Trevor Turbo Brown, Animals from the Dreaming, Australia Dreaming Art, Melbourne
2006 Trevor Turbo Brown, Dreamtime Animals, Koorie Heritage Trust
2005 Trevor Turbo Brown, Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne

Selected Group Exhibitions:

2016-2017 SOVEREIGNTY, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne
2008 Culture Warriors: National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia Travelling Exhibition
2008 Better World Arts SA
2008 A Latje Latje Story: Locations and Longevity
2008 Who Let the Dogs Out, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery
2008 End of Year Mix #3, Australia Dreaming Art, Melbourne
2007 Naive, Australia Dreaming Art, Melbourne
2007 Culture Warriors: National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
2007 End of Year Mix #2, Australia Dreaming Art, Melbourne
2006 Landmarks, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
2006 Tribal Expressions Commonwealth Showcase of Indigenous Art, Blackbox Gallery
2006 Indigenart, The Mossenson Galleries, Perth
2005 -Urban Yarns: Southern Region Indigenous Arts
2005 Sorry Seems so Hard to say, Bundoora Homestead Art Gallery, City of Darebin
2004 Emerging Artists, Koorie Heritage Trust
2004 City of Darebin Acquisition Art prize
2004 Gumbri White Dove Indigenous Art Prize, Bundoora Homestead, City of Darebin Reconciliation
2004 Show Aboriginal Affairs Victoria Latrobe St Gallery, Urbanity Parliament House and Bunjilaka
2003 Us Mob Too, PIT Space Gallery, RMIT University
2003 Indigenous Awareness Week Show, Grand Hall, City of Whittlesea
2003 Bagunnga, 10 years of RMIT Koorie Ed, Korrie Heritage Trust
2003 NAIDOC Week Show (Group Show with NMIT) PIT Space
2003 Us Mob1, Dantes Upstairs Gallery, Fitzroy
2002 End of Year Show in conjunction with Northland Sec. College
2002 Arts Showcase PIT Space Gallery RMIT University
2001 End of Year Show PIT Space Gallery RMIT University