ARONE MEEKS, 'Celebration', 2001 linocut, edition of 30, 119 x 170 cm
"Having grown up around Cairns, and now permanently based here, it was important for me to identify some of the elements that make up this area of Far North Queensland. From the rainforest, depicting plant life such as the wild ginger, frangipani, flowering gums and lawyer cane, through to the scrub hen mounding the rainforest mulch for its nest and the footprints of the cassowary.
These images of the rainforest are connected by an extended dancing/singing figure decorated with fertility designs and embracing his environment. To the left of the dancer begins the mangrove with its rich bed of organic sea-life and precious sea-grasses, vitally important to the dugong, that mate here. Above, three small sea turtle begin their journey.
To the right a bush spirit bends and weaves through the rainforest. His flowering leaves move in the breeze towards the centre of the print as he caresses the boy’s head. He draws the youth towards a greater spiritual and compassionate understanding of his cultural identity.
Spanning the artwork floats a figure adorned with skin designs held together with a membrane-like fish trap, reminding us of human frailty. Overall this work is about our relationship to the environment and, on a personal level, is a documentation of life in Far North Queensland as an indigenous person. The voice of cultural awareness from the boy announces the beginning of his growth, and identifies his connection to the spirit of the natural world.” Arone Meeks