Media Release – From a Northern Canopy
On Friday, 25 August, Onespace Gallery, in collaboration with Canopy Art Centre (Canopy), Cairns, will launch the exhibition From a Northern Canopy, featuring work by artists Michael Boiyool Anning (Yidinji) and Daniel O’Shane (Kuku Yalanji, Miriam Mer, and Kulkagal). The exhibition celebrates these two exceptional Indigenous artists from Tropical North Queensland who were stand-out exhibitors with Canopy at this year’s Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF 2017).
From a Northern Canopy represents an exciting point of alignment between two artists at opposite ends of the professional spectrum, with one established and one emerging, who each utilise distinctly different artmaking processes.
This exhibition represents Anning’s first significant exhibition in Brisbane since 2009, a welcome return by this well-respected artist. His works are held in the collections of QAGOMA, Queensland Museum, and Cairns Regional Gallery among others. From a Northern Canopy is the first time O’Shane’s large, award-winning vinyl-cut prints have been shown in Brisbane. Among his achievements are being highly commended at the prestigious 2014 Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (purchased for their collection); receiving a special commendation at the 2014 Fremantle Print Award; being a finalist in the 2015 Telstra Art Award; being awarded the Grand Prize at the 2015 Silk Cut Award; and winning the 2016 Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery National Works on Paper Award.
Both artists were outstanding presences at Canopy during CIAF 2017: O’Shane was the recipient of the Fair’s People’s Choice Award, while Anning made a strong return to the art world spotlight after a five-year hiatus.
Anning and O’Shane investigate similar themes of country, ancestral narratives, and the continuation of culture through their works. However, they accomplish these thematic goals through divergent artmaking practices—Anning through carved and bold ochre-painted shields and fire-makers and O’Shane through large and very detailed vinylcut prints.
Anning was one of the first Queensland Indigenous artists in recent years to revive the tradition of making two traditional rainforest artefacts: the Big-run (shields) that were once used as weapons by his people and the Nalan Gugal (firemakers) that were used to create precious flame in the wet tropics. O’Shane, on the other hand, represents an exciting new energy in the tropical north Queensland art world, as he is developing his own innovative minarr/warr (traditional patterning of the Torres Strait).
In the exhibition, the blocks and lines of geometric ochre colour in Anning’s work are met by the intricate black-and-white lines of O’Shane’s prints, though the latter sometimes includes fine fields of colour in his work. Both artists utilise repetition to create works predicated on absorbing figurative and abstract forms.
From a Northern Canopy also represents an exciting point of initial collaboration between Canopy Art Centre in Cairns, and Onespace Gallery in Brisbane. Canopy represents O’Shane, and was the site of Anning’s CIAF 2017 exhibition.
Canopy is a focal point of Indigenous and non-Indigenous art from Tropical North Queensland, and is dedicated to showcasing the varied works of local artistic practitioners. Administered by Master Printmaker Theo Tremblay and Paloma Ramos, Canopy fulfils a variety of educational and presentation roles. It is also home to Editions Tremblay Print Workshop, which provides a space for expert education on various printmaking techniques.
Please join us for opening night drinks on Friday, 25 August, from 6–8pm.