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© Arone Raymond John Meeks/ Licensed by Viscopy, 2017

Irukandji Season

Date: 2008
Medium: Van Son on Arches paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Arone Raymond John Meeks
Classification:Art
Object Name: Linocut
Object No: 00050595
Place Manufactured:Torres Strait

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    Description
    Arone Meeks linocut printed with colour blend from one block features the deadly Irukandji jellyfish of northern Australia.
    SignificanceThis artwork demonstrates the vibrant style of a contemporary Aboriginal Australian artist, and assists in the interpretation of Aboriginal maritime culture and tradition.
    HistoryArone Raymond Meeks was born in 1957 in Laura, Queensland. Meeks spent much of his childhood in El-Arish, Queensland before moving to Sydney to study art at Alexander Mackie College. After graduating in 1980, he undertook postgraduate studies in Traditional Art and Culture on Mornington Island. By 1984, he had completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the City Arts Institute in Sydney.

    During his time studying, Meeks began printmaking and drew inspiration from the traditional cave art of Cape York, around his country in Laura. In 1983, he was the first Indigenous Australian to be awarded an artist-in-residence at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Throughout the 1990s, he was represented in exhibitions in galleries across the globe including Portsmouth, Glasgow, Lyons, Toulousse, Tokyo, Boston and Santa Fe. In addition to this, Meeks became well known for his illustrations for children’s books including ‘When the World Was New’ (1988), ‘This is Still a Rainbow Snake Country’ (1988) and ‘Pheasant and Kingfisher’ (1994). In 1992, he won UNICEF’s Erza Jack Keats Award for International Excellence in Children’s Book Illustration. Meeks is continually creating new work and currently exhibits in galleries in Sydney and Cairns.

    Arone Meeks described the meaning behind the artwork:

    'This work tells of the start of the wet season when new life begins as the 'Wet' creates the freshwater falls. It winds and cuts its way to the coastline where the richness of the earth is mixed and washes the Irukandji eggs into the ocean to begin its season. Favourite food of the Sea turtle, this work represents for me the ongoing rejuvenation and life-cycles of not only country, but also our mob.'

    Jennifer Isaacs further elaborated on Arone Meeks, the origins of his name and his relationship with the land and its waterways, in her Preface to 'Common Ground Exhibition catalogue', Drill Hall Gallery, June 1997:

    'It was clear to Thancoupie from the beginning that Raymond Meeks was Arone the black crane: that large sinuous bird that alights gently on overhanging trees along water ways, bending its long neck to the water, solitary, seeking. The traditional stories were taught to Thancoupie by her aunty, Maethouone, and in time Thancoupie bestowed this name on Raymond Meeks.'

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