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© Arone Raymond John Meeks/ Licensed by Viscopy, 2017

Shot in the dark

Date: 29 June 1990
Dimensions:
Image: 610 x 507 mm
Overall: 860 x 710 mm, 0.9 kg
Sheet: 860 x 710 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Arone Raymond John Meeks
Classification:Art
Object Name: Print
Object No: 00018460

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    Description
    This black and white linocut and caustic etching, is titled 'Shot in the dark'.
    SignificanceThis artwork demonstrates the vibrant style of a contemporary Aboriginal Australian artist. Meeks uses traditional marine symbols from Aboriginal ancestral stories to convey a compelling political message.
    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.

    Meeks created the original design for this linocut in Paris after a tragic incident in Sydney. During a police raid, an innocent Koori man was shot and killed by police. Meeks designed this artwork to demonstrate the injustice of the tragedy by incorporating a range of symbols. The hanging boomerangs represent men with bullet holes next to them and the Barramundi, a common feature in Meeks’ work, symbolises the men returning to the Dreaming. In this work, Meeks demonstrates the important relationship between his people and the water, intertwining it with his personal thoughts on this tragic story.

    Jennifer Isaacs later described 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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