Director's Blog with Beverly Knight

Naomi Hobson exhibition extends the scope of aboriginal art

Naomi Hobson’s upcoming exhibition with Alcaston Gallery marks a significant new chapter for the artist. Emerging as a highly regarded practitioner in aboriginal art, the far north Queensland painter’s beginnings at Alcaston Gallery were promising, with her debut exhibition in 2013 a sell-out; in this her fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, titled ‘Ngaachi Ngunama – Story Place’, the evolution of her work is apparent.

Naomi Hobson’s latest paintings convey a compelling sense of harmony through the use of form over line, in contrast with the intricate mark-making and landscape compositions that characterised her earlier work.

Born in 1979, Naomi Hobson is an Umpila woman from Lockhart River who spent her early life in the Coen area of the Cape York Peninsula. Her father was from Lockhart River, her mother was from the Coen region and she was brought up by her grandparents, who imbued her with a strong sense of place in relation to the landscape of her childhood.

Colour - an important element in Naomi Hobson's paintings

Hobson cites the influence of the land of her early years as her key inspiration as an artist. In particular, she describes colour as an important element in her paintings and a powerful channel for creating the mood and atmosphere of her traditional lands.


“My country has inspired me to become an artist, the colours and pattern of nature itself, stories from the past, the unique transformation of the land over the seasons…and my own special places that are etched in my memory, these are places I regularly visit. It is through my art I aim to reflect and share with others in a contemporary way, my stories, culture and my country”.


Her practice and philosophy are also influenced by Coen’s intriguing political history. Since European settlement, the Aboriginal people of Cape York have worked on pastoral properties, with Hobson’s own grandfather working as a pastoralist for a European family. Her family have also been very active in working to bring social and environmental reforms to Coen. Through her artwork, Hobson continues this tradition of political and social engagement through aboriginal art.

The scope of her work has also been broadened and deepened through formal art education. “I’ve always had the stories to give me the foundation to paint, but it was the furthering of my education with a visual arts degree that helped me to express myself,” she commented in an article by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper at the time of her first Alcaston Gallery show in June 2013.

Her new paintings blend culture + tradition with Naomi Hobson's unique sensibilities

It’s perhaps due to the fact that Hobson’s roots in the traditions of aboriginal art have been extended and enhanced through formal training, that Hobson’s paintings are imbued with a powerful sense of culture and country, while at the same time revealing the artist’s unique sensibilities.

Alcaston Gallery recently represented Naomi at this year’s Sydney Contemporary 15 art fair. She is also exhibiting this year in major group contemporary art exhibitions at Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Cairns Regional Gallery, and is a finalist in the 32nd Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.


Naomi Hobson – Ngaachi Ngunama – Story Place’ will run at Alcaston Gallery from 3 to 27 November 2015.


In the lead up to the Christmas Holidays, now would be an ideal time to take advantage of the Art Money loans program, designed to make owning art immediate and affordable.

Art Money provides interest free loans to buy art at participating galleries. Loans are available for artworks priced from $750 to $20,000. Payments are spread over 10 equal monthly payments. After paying a 10% deposit, you can take your artwork home and pay the remaining balance over 9 months, interest free.

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