Rosella Namok

Rosella Namok is an Ungkum speaker who was born in Lockhart River in 1979. She began painting with the Lockhart River art Gang at an early age, Rosella’s paintings are very contemporary in style, and she depicts her own stories about life in her isolated Aboriginal community, about the people around her, how they live and the things they do.

Since her first solo exhibition in 1999 at Sydney’s Hogarth Gallery Namok has risen to prominence to become almost a celebrity figure; for at twenty-three she was, anecdotally at least, the highest grossing Australian artist of her age. Over the last decade she has exhibited around the world, She continues to work consistently from her home in Lockhart River, and from a studio in Cairns where she now owns a home. Having smiled beatifically from the front cover of At Collector magazine and been included at such a tender age in its 50 Most Collectable artists, she has assumed a cult-like status with regular sell out shows at her galleries in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Since her first solo exhibition in 1999 at Sydney’s Hogarth Gallery Namok has risen to prominence to become almost a celebrity figure; for at twenty-three she was, anecdotally at least, the highest grossing Australian artist of her age. Over the last decade she has exhibited around the world, She continues to work consistently from her home in Lockhart River, and from a studio in Cairns where she now owns a home. Having smiled beatifically from the front cover of At Collector magazine and been included at such a tender age in its 50 Most Collectable artists, she has assumed a cult-like status with regular sell out shows at her galleries in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

~Namok’s lands are to the south of Lockhart. Her totem is the Rosella. The artist’s language is the Aankum Group. Rosella began painting as a young girl when helping her father to decorate the bodies of dancers with ochre paints for traditional ceremonies. Her father was the painter of dancer’s bodies for tribal ceremony at Lockhart River and she would often help him smearing clay onto the body and working it with the fingers to create the appropriate designs. The marks or patterns used on the body and on the ceremonial ground are highly symbolic.
These ancestral markings are still strong elements in Rosella’s art today, together with other traditional symbolic patterns learnt from the sand drawing style taught to her by her grandmother. In Rosella Namok’s work we observe both decorative finger painting as well as “scraping” of the surface. “I paint mainly about clan groups, country, family and what people do” says Namok. Other subjects include the seasons – the dry and the wet – and the rainforest. I also paint about the stories people tell me about, the spirits and carnival journeys to other communities.”

Rosella’s work is included in all the major Australian galleries and in some international collections, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA and Columbus State University, Georgia, USA. Her work is often viewed as taking Aboriginal art in a new direction, linking the traditional with the modern.
She was ranked among the 50 most Collectable Artists in Australia by Art Collector magazine for 2001 and 2002. In 2013 two of her paintings were used as backdrops to a performance of Stavinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring by the Houston Ballet company in Texas. (picture bellow)
rosella-backdrops