Arthouse Gallery is delighted to announce that we are now representing Naomi Hobson.

My aboriginality is what grounds me. Through art I get to freely express all of this. I can share my creative freedoms in a contemporary way. My style also reflects my individuality... I want my work to tell my stories in an innovative way, I want to introduce new work, to maintain a point of difference, I am wary to re-define and not recycle.

Part of a new generation of contemporary Indigenous artists, Naomi Hobson is a prolific multidisciplinary artist working in painting, photography and ceramics.  Hobson is from the Kaantju/Umpila language group and grew up in the small township of Coen, on the Cape York Peninsula in Northern Queensland.  Inspired by her direct environment, Hobson’s works express her ongoing connection to Country and her ancestors’ ties and relationships with their traditional lands.

Hobson’s family have been active in indigenous land rights and reform movements in the effort to return traditional lands and on social and economic reforms to her Cape York community of Coen. Through her art, Hobson continues her family tradition of political and social engagement. Every brushstroke expresses the innate embeddedness of culture and country in her paintings. However, this specific link to place is brought about through a keen sense of her own individuality.

Her use of mark-making and grid-like patterns of colour lead to vibrant paintings exploring her own sense of self and shared identity with her ancestors and country.  These works are pulsing with energy, where dot and line work combine with expressive free forms and impulsive marks of the brush.

I spend most of my time outdoors listening, looking, and just enjoying being present in my environment and my culture. There is just so much to be inspired by and be grateful for that this gives. Every day is a different light, another hue. As the seasons change, the landscape evolves; it blooms and burns and sprouts and falls – it’s never still.

Hobson has exhibited widely both within Australia and internationally since 2008. Her work has been acquired by institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of South Australia, Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Shepparton Art Museum, Bendigo Art Gallery and Cairns Art Gallery, and was recently the subject of a major tapestry commission produced with the Australian Tapestry Workshop for the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In 2021 Naomi was selected by Mecca Australia as their featured artist and her work was acquired by the NGV X MECCA partnership supporting women in the arts for the NGV Victoria.

Grass fire through here, acrylic on linen, 150 x 100 cm

I don’t approach painting with deep complex thoughts or over-think a topic. I don’t try to be magically clever or anything. I will paint when something clear pops up in my mind: I just have to get it down, I have to recreate it. I won’t stop until I’m finished, which means I can’t plan my painting like a nine-to-five job or like a diary. But I can be woken in the middle of the night with a colour or when I’m on a long road trip, or I can be sitting at a place in my Country and that place will come to me as a colour

Hobson's photography work explores this further where the everyday human experience is brought to life through her lens.  Her series 'Adolescent Wonderland' which was exhibited at the Art Gallery of South Australia, depicts the freedom and identity of youth in her community.

In 2022, Naomi's photography was exhibited in Photo Australia's International Festival of Photography, Photo 2022 which celebrates outstanding photography from artists, with the works exhibited in key sites around the city of Melbourne including Parliament House, Old Melbourne Gaol, and various galleries and museums across the city.

Today photography needs to push the boundary. I feel it doesn’t need to be picture perfect and as a fine art – I’m using the medium to tell real stories that I feel don’t get told or haven’t been told.

Our young people are unique, and especially in Indigenous communities. I don’t think people outside our community really know who [our young people] really are. When you come from an Indigenous community, you’re expected to live culturally – you’re out in the bush, in the wild, on country – and that might be the case, but young people also have their own interests and engagement; they’re in touch with both the ‘outside’ world and their cultural traditional world.

Road Play (ed. of 5), photographic print on 310 gsm cotton rag art paper, 80 x 115 cm (framed)

Free Lollypops (ed. of 5), photographic print on 310 gsm cotton rag art paper, 80 x 115 cm (framed)

River Mermaid (ed. of 5), photographic print on 310gsm cotton rag art paper, 80 x 115 cm (framed)

Rainbow Twins (ed. of 5), photographic print on 310gsm cotton rag art paper, 80 x 115 cm (framed)

My colours are of strength, each colour is a feeling and a moving event – what this place feels like – it’s very bright here and I’m feeling it. It feels powerful.

Naomi near her home in Coen, Northern Queensland.  Photographed by Jacky Kao

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