Thancoupie Bursary Fund: Fundraising art auction

Thancoupie Bursary Fund: Fundraising art auction: Canopy Art Centre 18th – 27th May
A couple of months ago in Cairns an art event honoured one of the country's most pre-eminent ceramicists and arguably Australia's foremost Aboriginal artist, the late [and recognised Queensland Great] Dr Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher James AO, known fondly as 'Than' by most. In her will Thancoupie left behind an endowment fund, a trust of sorts to be utilised as a scholarship programme for young or emerging Aboriginal artists from the Western Cape, Cape York Peninsula (her home region). Since its inauguration the Thancoupie Bursary Fund has raised a sizable amount due to the assistance of the Queensland Government and countless benefactors as well as support from the Aboriginal Benefits Foundation. Events such as the recently held fundraising art auction have been crucial to the Bursary's sustainability and also presents a great and interactive way for the community and those who admired Thancoupie to contribute. This is the latest of a number of fundraising auctions held over the past few years, one at the Cairns Regional Gallery and another at KickArts Contemporary Arts.
While the Bursary has been growing, building its profile and advocating for Indigenous arts advancement in the Far North, artist Paul Bong became the first recipient of the bursary last year. The funds awarded to Paul- and all future recipients- goes towards supporting either their arts practice or arts education. In a time where public funding to the arts is restricted and restrictive, this initiative from the private sector, from the community, is a great step forward. Supporting artists, especially Indigenous artists, and advocating for arts education (aside from her arts practice) were some of Thancoupie's lifelong passions.
Held at the Canopy Art Centre in Cairns, the auction featured over 40 eclectic works of varying mediums and schools, including works by prominent Indigenous artists such as Dick Roughsey, Arone Meeks, Glen Mackie, Brian Robinson and Janet Fieldhouse– along with two very specially gifted works by Ray Crooke and Thancoupie herself! Other artists, as featured in order in the catalogue include: Paul Bong, Craig Hoy, Mollie Bosworth, Samuel Tupou, Teho Ropeyarn, Rick Beresford & Phil Johns, Kerry Trapnell, Ian Whittaker, Jill Symes, Geoff Crispin, Angus Nivison, Jenny Fraser, Roland NancarrowHeather Koowootha, Theo Tremblay, Zoe De Jersey, Daphne De Jersey, Marsha Hall, Pamela Griffith, Lynn Bates, Peter Thompson, Serena Kuring, Nina Dawson, Margaret Genever, Mark Cochrane and Joseph & Ian Skeen & Family.
While the definite figure of what was successfully raised at the auction has yet been officially announced by the Thancoupie Bursary Fund committee, from my estimations the figure is impressively into the early tens of thousands of dollars mark. To keep updated on any future announcements follow the Bursary's official Facebook page.
*Jack is the Tribal-Grandson of Thancoupie and is himself a contemporary artist & writer from Cape York & Far North Queensland.


Jack Wilkie-Jans 
Aboriginal Affairs Advocate
Artist & Artsworker
Dick Roughsey, 1972, The Emu and the Turkey, 47cm x 37cm, bark painting
Dick Roughsey, The Emu and the Turkey, 1972, 47cm x 37cm, bark painting
Heather Koowootha, 2016, 'Kubarra Fire Storm' (etching)
Heather Koowootha, Kubarra Fire Storm, 2016, (etching)
Ian Whittaker, Fiat, 2015, ceramic
Ian Whittaker, Fiat, 2015, ceramic
Jill Symes, 1996, Coral Vessel, ceramic
Jill Symes, Coral Vessel, 1996, ceramic
Left,Rick Beresford&Phil Johns,2015, Kunangurra,digitalprint on board,Right, JennyFraser, Where'sMurri, 2016,digitial printoncanvas
(Left) Rick Beresford and Phil Johns, Kunangurra, 2015, 90cm x 61cm digital print on board, (Right) Jenny Fraser, Where's Murri, 2016, 76cm x 51cm, digitial print on canvas
Margaret Genever, 'Disparate Supper Dance', 2011, 26x37cm archival pigment print
Margaret Genever, Disparate Supper Dance, 2011, 26 x 37cm, archival pigment print
Ray Crooke, c.1986, Sandstone Outcrop Cape York, 52cm x 39cm, screen print (2)
Ray Crooke, Sandstone Outcrop Cape York, c.1986, 52cm x 39cm, screen print
Roland Nancarrow, 2015, Licuala Deluxe, 3D sculpture
Roland Nancarrow, Licuala Deluxe, 2015, 3D sculpture
Thancoupie, c.1985, Beug crab, Negwerre bandicoot, Guiree flying fox and fish, 23cm diameter
Thancoupie, Beug crab, Negwerre bandicoot, Guiree flying fox and fish, c.1985, 23cm diameter

What’s on in Queensland?: Australia: Defending the Oceans, at the Heart of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art

'Australia: Defending the Oceans, at the Heart of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art'
March 23rd – September 30th 2016 – Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

Welcome to the first entry of 2016 for my guest section 'What's on in Queensland?'. A major event happening in relation to Queensland is currently taking shape and will actually be held in Monaco!

Curated by Brisbane based gallery director Suzanne O'Connell (whose gallery Arts & Artists Blog has covered before), in partnership with Stéphane Jacob of Arts d'Australie in Paris, Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre in Far North Queensland (famous for its production of miniature and massive Bagu sculptures), Erub Arts (AKA Darnley Island Art Centre), Pormpuraaw Art & Cultural Centre, Ken Thaiday Snr and Alick Tipoti, the exhibition will showcase numerous works by several important Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander artists to the European art market in Monaco next month (March 23rd). The exhbition will feature large installations and will feature numerous sought after ghost net sculptures. The exhibition's overall concept is through art, to showcase the love and connection, as well as the protectiveness, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples have for and over their oceans and sea territories.

Made possible by the Federal Government's new funding scheme Catalyst (as well as with support from other government bodies, not to mention generous sponsorship from the private sector), the project is expected to be one of the largest in Indigenous fine art promotions abroadInitiatives of the kind which benefit the domestic and hence local art industry immensely (and no doubt pose a huge boon for events such as the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair) due to the exposure of Australian artists and interest generated in Aboriginal culture and fine art. For more information on the Catalyst fund and for information on eligibility and the application process, please follow this link.

While the Monaco project is still taking shape, with new works being completed and/or commissioned every day- Ms O'Connell was kind of enough to share a little sneak peak at what will be expected on display at the renowned Oceanographic Museum in Monaco as part of a larger programme of performances & artists talks as well as a special concert event. Ms O'Connell also dropped a few of the main names whose work will be exhibited to an audience of about 500,000 art lovers! Such names include Aboriginal art superstars Alick Tipoti, Ken Thaiday Snr in collaboration with Jason Christopher and Brian Robinson.

We at Art & Artists Blog hope you enjoy this preview and hope we've left you enough time to save up and book your tickets to Monaco! While you may not make it in time for the opening (to be opened privately by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco) you will have ample time to go and see the exhibition as it runs until the 30th of September. Following the opening, on the 24th of March Alick Tipoti and his team of dancers will be performing at the museum throughout the day. The event is followed on the 26th by a free public concert in Lyons at the Musée des Confluences with a performance by the Zugubal Dancers.
Defending the Oceans follows the Museum's tradition of exhibiting high standard contemporary works by the likes of Damien Hirst, Huang Yong Ping, Mark Dion and Marc Quinn (to name a few), and is part of the larger exhibition at the Museum titled "Taba Naba – Australia, Oceania, Arts of the Sea People". "Taba Naba" will feature two other exhibitions, Living Waters and Oceania Islanders: Past Masters in Navigation and Artistic Expression.
Jack Wilkie-Jans 
Aboriginal Affairs Advocate
Artist & Artsworker


Alick Tipoti 'Kisay Dhangal'courtesy and copywright Alick Tipoti and Australian Art Network, photo Roger D'Souza
 Alick Tipoti Kisay Dhangal courtesy and copyright Alick Tipoti and Australian Art Network photo Roger DSouza
Bagu scultpures Museum facade, simulation, courtesy of Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, photo by Michel Dagnino
Bagu scultpures Museum facade, simulation, courtesy of Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, photo by Michel Dagnino 
Brian Robinson, Githalai II, simulation, copyright design Brian Robinson et Creative Move, copyright photo Tilt Industrial Design et The Artificial
Brian Robinson, Githalai II, simulation, copyright design Brian Robinson et Creative Move, copyright photo Tilt Industrial Design et The ArtificialEmeret Nar, 550 b 540Emeret Nar, 550 b 540,Jimmy Kenny Thaiday, Jimmy John Thaiday, Lorenzo Ketchell, Ellarose Savage, Emma Gela, Ethel Charlie, Alma Sailor, Louisa Kiwat, Racy Oui-Pitt, in collaboration wit photo by Lynnette Griffiths
Crocodile ghost net sculpture, image courtesy and copyright artist Michael Norman and Pormpuraaw Arts and Cultural Centre
Crocodile ghost net sculpture, image courtesy and copyright artist Michael Norman and Pormpuraaw Arts and Cultural Centre 
Erub Arts, Merad Turtle, ghost net sculpture, photo by Lynnette Griffiths
Erub Arts, Merad Turtle, ghost net sculpture, photo by Lynnette Griffiths
Erub Island artists fish ghost net sculptures, photo Lynnette Griffiths
Erub Island artists fish ghost net sculptures, photo Lynnette Griffiths
Oceanographic Museum of Monaco courtesy of Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
Oceanographic Museum of Monaco courtesy of Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

Koorie Heritage Trust: Wominjeka – A New Beginning

The Koorie Heritage Trust have a new home at Federation Square (Levels 1&3, Yarra Building, Federation Square, Corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets, Melbourne Vic 3000) and celebrate their 30th birthday with an exhibition 'Wominjeka – A New Beginning' (19 Sep – 22 Nov 15).

"The exhibition shows the work of five early career artists, exhibited alongside pieces from the Trust's collection that have been the muse for their own artistic expression and stories." The five artists are Aunty Marlene Gilson, Georgia MacGuire, Mitch Mahoney, Josh Muir and Raymond Young. "Working with mentors, these artists have created new works in response to selected items from our collections."

The Trust collection artists are Stephen Glassborow, Wally Cooper, Tommy McRae, Glenda Nicholls, Letty Nicholls, Vena Ingram, Mandy Nicholson, Kelly Koumalatsos, Brian Firebrace, Treahna Hamm, Dorothy Lovett, William Barak, and Darren Pattie-Bux.

Wominjeka new begining 1 Wominjeka new begining 2 Wominjeka new begining 3 Wominjeka new begining 4

Gallery shots of the exhibtion Wominjeka –  A New Beginning, 2015

Guest writer: What’s on in Queensland? Umi Arts Members’ Exhibition (Cairns)

Art and Artists blog is excited to introduce Jack Wilkie-Jans our new guest wrtier, I hope you enjoy his first post about the Umi Arts Members' Exhibition at Umi Arts Gallery (335 Sheridan Street, North Cairns, QLD, 4870) on 12th February – 25th March, 2015…

This year Umi Arts gallery celebrates their 10th anniversary of operation in representing A&TSI artists and with the inauguration of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair in 2009, Umi Arts as the leading gallery in Queensland for representing and promoting Indigenous Australian art (contemporary and traditional) truly began to get noticed by larger galleries and serious collectors both at home and abroad.

The annual 'You & Me' Members' Exhibition each year for the past ten, showcases some of the region's best A&TSI artists and of course the eclectic combination of style, mediums and concepts they share between them. This year's line-up of artists features some of the most respected, enduring and promising established artists from the area such as Arone Meeks, Heather Koowootha, Paul Bong and Rosella Namok.

At this exhibition the viewer will be treated to a mini-maze of portable plinths and partition walls all decorated with the finest art & artefacts to represent the broader skills and style base of the gallery's numerous artists. While the 'You & Me' show for this year features only 16 of the gallery's rather expansive membership (including three works by yours truly) it reflects not only the diversity of the artists but also, and more significantly, highlights the enduring and ever-changing idea of what "Indigenous" art is.

So if you're a lover or learner of Indigenous Art and if you're considering an arts & cultural pilgrimage away from the big cities please be sure to head up to Cairns and visit the Umi Arts gallery. Of course many of the Umi Arts artists can be seen at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and the Biennale of Sydney, as well as around the traps at various other state and national public and private galleries.

Keep an eye out for the Umi Arts name and a finger on the rapidly growing pulse of creativity coming from the Far North!

Arone Meeks

  Arone Meeks, Spirit Ark, 2012, Linocut on Arches BFK 300 gsm (Edition of 35), 110cm x 170cm, Photography by Michael Marzik

Sharon Karami

Sharon Karami, Bamboo Grove Path, 2014 Digital Photography, 42cm x 60cm, Photography courtesy of the artist.

Thomas BosenThomas Bosen, Magpie Geese laying eggs, 2014, Acrylic on Canvas, 122cm x 76cm, Photography by Michael Marzik

Bernard Singleton1

Bernard Singleton, Damarri Guyala-djada, 2014, Wattle/flat acrylic, feather, beeswax, (work 1) 250cm x 46cm x 10cm, (work 2- right of image) 250cm x 40cm x 10cm. Photography by Michael Marzik

Robert Tommy Pau

Robert Tommy Pau, Bigo (Rain Making Bull Roar), 2014, Digital print on panel, 85cm (h), Photograph courtesy of UMI Arts  

Author: Jack Wilkie-Jans
Jack is an artist and writer as well as an Alumni of the National Gallery of Australia's Wesfarmer's Indigenous Arts Leadership program from Far North Queensland.