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Lin Onus

1948-1996

Language: Yorta Yorta

Born William McLintock Onus in Melbourne award-winning artist Lin Onus the only child of Bill Onus, a Yorta Yorta man and Mary McLintock Kelly, a Scottish woman. Onus was expelled from Balwyn High School for fighting and went on to work as a mechanic and spray painting before working for his father’s business Aboriginal Enterprise Novelties making artefacts for the tourist market.

A largely self-taught artist he won in 1988 the introduced media section award at the fifth National Aboriginal Art Award, Darwin and in 1992 he both won the Kate Chalis RAKA Award, (Ruth Adeney Koori Award), Melbourne and was made a member of the Order of Australia on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Onus was overall winner and the winner of the People’s Choice Award of the 1994 National Indigenous Heritage Art Award, Canberra. In 1986 Onus was appointed a member of the Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council and was the chairman of the Board from 1989 to 1992. Onus was also a co-founder of the Aboriginal Arts Management Association and a founding member and Director of the copyright agency Viscopy.

Onus exhibited widely in both group and solo exhibitions and his works are held in a number of collections both internationally and nationally.