Fiona Omeenyo | Artist Profile

Details of Fiona Omeenyo

About

I'm a member of the Lockhart River Art Gang. We're a group of young Aboriginal artists from the east coast of Cape York in far North Queensland.

I work from the art centre here. I mainly do paintings on canvas ... sometimes I do printmaking (screen prints, etchings and lino prints). now I'm trying something different; making sculpture and I think I really like the sculpture figures I'm doing ... something new to do and learn.

My recent works are about country and stories passed onto me by my family. i like to paint about those stories ... good to understand ... so I can tell my kids about those story places and why they are important to our family.

I have two young children, Franziska is five and Croyston is just two. We live with my mother in Lockhart River. My family comes from Umpila. Umpila is one big tribe but my family came from a small area called Chester River ... in language we call it 'pathaco'.

I went for a land claim meeting with all the Umpila tribe. Franziska was only four months old when I took her over. My uncle Blade told me to make her swim in the river at pathaco and he also told me that she won't ever get sickness from other people. That swim in the river made her strong.

When I left school and came back to Lockhart ... Franziska was born .. I was like all the other mothers in lockhart ... stay home ... no job ...get bored ... until one day rosie Lloyd came and asked me to work at the art room at the school. from there on my life started getting better. i thought to myself ... what the hell ... I'm not going to waste my life sitting at home all the time ... I'm going to get out and make a name for my family.

Last year I wanted to do a painting for 'Art of Place Awards' in Canberra. I asked my uncle Blade to give me a story for 'pathaco'. When he gave me my story, i really liked it and it was the first time my uncle told it to me ... and now I tell Franziska that story ... each night she goes to bed she asks me to tell her that story again ... about Miiku ... the sea snake ... he's a quiet snake ... yellow and black.

I did a special painting for 'Art of Place' and people really liked it and they really liked the story too. So, now I'm painting the whole story ... every time I
tell the story .. I think of new things to paint.

Till today, people like my painting and my family's proud of me ... proud of what I'm doing ...
and I'm proud of what I'm doing.

Sometimes when I'm bored ... I do my best paintings .. the feeling inside of me ... I don't know how to explain it ... i just let that painting take a hold of my hand ... just put the paintbrush on the canvas and start painting away. And when I'm painting I feel happy ... just like someone's standing next to me watching what I'm doing ... makes me feel strong.

EDUCATION

I went to school, kindergarten to grade 8 here in Lockhart River. Grade 9, I went to Schalom Christian college in Townsville. I did a bit of art at school. in grade 10, I went to Emmanuel College in Cairns for one term.

I have studied Art Modules, part time 'off campus' with Cairns T.A.F.E. I did this through Lockhart River State school and the lockhart River Art and Cultural Centre. I have completed the certificate of Visual Arts (ATSI) through Cairns T.A.F.E.

EMPLOYMENT

I am employed by Lockhart River Community Council CDEP (Community Development Employment Programme). I work with the Art Gang for 16 hours a week but I come to the art centre whenever I have spare time to do my painting.

GRANT, PRIZES, AWARDS

- 1999 Cape York Art Awards, Laura Festival - 1st prize Works on Paper for a Chine Colle
etching called 'Spirits Dance".
- 2000 Art of Place Awards Canberra - work selected for exhibition.

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

December 1998 "Message Stick' exhibition in Brisbane at Queensland Aboriginal Creations
July 1999 International Works on Paper Fair, Sydney, NSW
November 1999 Cairns Regional Gallery Postcard exhibition
December 1999 Lockhart River Art Gang 'we searching' exhibition at Queensland Aboriginal Creations
1999 - 2001 "Message Stick' touring exhibtion by the Art Gang from Lockhart River, funded by Visions Australia
'In my Eyes' Lockhart River Art Gang and Friends at Cairns Regional Gallery, June 2000
August 2000 'The Fifth National Indigenous Art of Place Award' exhibition at Queensland Aboriginal Creations in Brisbane, Queensland
December 'Pama belong sandbeach' at Queensland Aboriginal creations in Brisbane

COLLECTIONS

Woollongong University Collection
ATSIC Collection
Department of Native Title Collection
Northern Territory University Collection
Cairns Regional Gallery





Artworks of Fiona Omeenyo