Naomi Hobson

BORN
1978
LANGUAGE
KAANTJU/UMPILA
BIRTHPLACE
COEN
LIVES
COEN, FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA

I paint in my own personal space where I feel most comfortable including my back veranda, in the dry river beds, on the banks of my childhood fishing places as well as at the camp sites that my families have lived and spent time for thousands of years. I will take time to look at the miniature things, the tiny little things that nature hides.”

— NAOMI HOBSON

Naomi Hobson
Salt Lake
2020
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
130 x 160 cm
Exhibited: Moreton Bay Art Prize 2020

COEN IS MY HOME. MY FAMILY AND COUNTRY MEAN EVERYTHING TO ME.

Naomi Hobson is a multidisciplinary artist working across painting, photography and ceramics. She resides on the banks of the riverbeds where her grandparents were born. Her residence is an old tin shed that was once her village church. Her colourful abstract compositions act as a link between individuality and a shared identity. Her continual inspiration is the vast traditional lands of her ancestors surrounding the town of Coen in Queensland and her culture. More recently, Naomi is further inspired by the richness of cultural diversity she witnessed first-hand while exploring village life, rural farmlands and the organised urban chaos throughout South East Asia.

Coen is a small township of 300 people at the bottom of the McIlwraith Ranges (part of the Great Dividing Range) surrounded by the east coast of Cape York Peninsula, rainforest and open wooded country, with many river systems that snake down to the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef. The local clans include Kaantju, Umpila, LamaLama, Ayapathu, Wik Mungkan and Olkola. This landscape has provided inspiration for Naomi’s paintings.

The landscape of Coen is also imbued with a marked political history. Since European settlement Aboriginal people have maintained a connection to their country through working on pastoral properties. Hobson’s grandfather was employed as a stockman for a European family, while other local indigenous people worked as farmhands (cooking, cleaning, gardening, baby-sitters) for no financial reward. Further, 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 cultures and country in her paintings. However, this specific link to place is brought about through a keen sense of her own individuality.

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.

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.”

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