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Lin Onus

Pitoa Garkman - 1994

Screenprint on Whatmans Matt 270 gsm paper (Edn # 30/85)
50 x 74.5 cm
Price Realised: $3,904.00

MP #632


Provenance

Created by the artist with Port Jackson Press, Vic
Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Vic
Private Collection, NT

Image: 50 x 74.5 cm Frame: 104 x 81 cm

Through his practice as an artist and advocate, Lin Onus played a pivotal role in the emergence of urban Aboriginal art. A Yorta Yorta man from Cumeraganga on the Murray River, he grew up in Melbourne, strongly influenced by the work of realist painters like Albert Namatjira. He began his own career as a watercolorist and photo-realist. Onus's work evolved after his 'adoption' by Arnhem Land elders in the mid-1980s, which conferred upon him the right to use certain traditional stories and designs. This enabled him to develop a distinctive visual language. Through a fusion of Western and Aboriginal systems of organising space, vision, and design, he sought to portray landscape as a carrier of myth, history, and ideology.

The title of this work means 'frogs' in the Djinang language of Central Arnhem Land. Here, frogs, painted with traditional body markings, sit with their heads popping above the surface of the water in a still pond surrounded by gum trees. The work conveys the message that beyond the immediately apparent lies the Dreaming reality, accessible only if one is open to its presence.