Capturing Country, from sunrise to sunset


Rosella Namok’s abstract paintings are all about colour. Bold lines, often different hues of the same colour, tell stories of Country and family from the Ungkum artist’s home in Far North Queensland.

Using decorative finger painting and scraping techniques, Namok’s art is her interpretation of the lush landscape that surrounds her throughout the seasons: the sun, the sea, lagoons and bamboo thickets, tropical rain from morning to evening. She also includes clan designs from her community.

Her latest exhibition showcases 28 new paintings, all created during lockdown in 2020. The paintings tend towards the lighter side of the colour spectrum, bringing a soft playfulness, and vary from smaller to large-scale works.

“These paintings for me have a sense of colour that radiates a freshness and love for that coastal Queensland environment,” says David Wroth, director of Japingka Aboriginal Art. “She has these unusual pink and orange tonal values in some of those big landscapes, when we’re accustomed to the deeper blue vision of the sea and the beach. Then you get all the light interplays at different times of the day where the ocean and the clouds become a reflector of different types of light, and I think that’s what Rosella is bringing that’s so distinctive from anything else.”

There is also a sense of kinship in the paintings—two in this exhibition are titled Two Brothers and Three Sisters, featuring repeated patterns side by side. “Sometimes the abstract imagery is about family connection and community connection,” Wroth says. “Rosella overlays that on top of the other images, which represent Country and that coastal part of Northern Queensland, but there’s something else going on, which is about clan connection in Indigenous communities.”

Rosella Namok Recent Paintings
Rosella Namok

Japingka Aboriginal Art
16 July—17 August

Preview Words by Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen