Brian Robinson, Harvest season, Linocut printed in black ink from one block. Edition of 30, 2012. Published by Djumbunji Press KickArts Fine Printmaking
Land cultivation was practised to some extent throughout the Torres Strait. Large areas of the rich volcanic Eastern Islands and the alluvial Northern Islands were cultivated. The coral-sand Central Islands and the high rocky Western Islands were less fertile and water was often less plentiful, but individual islanders and island clans did have land under crop, often on nearby uninhabited islands.
Areas were cleared of grass and scrub with the use of stone and clam axes, and then the ground was tilled with hardwood and bone digging sticks. Burnt vegetation was used as a natural fertilizer, but certain magical rites and ceremonies were commonly performed to ensure good crops. Gardening was considered an important and competitive skill and individuals kept secret their ways of producing good crop yields.Artist's bio:
Brian Robinson is a multi-skilled contemporary artist, whose practice includes painting, printmaking, sculpture and design. The graphic style in his practice combines his Torres Strait Islander heritage with a strong passion for experimentation, both in theoretical approach and medium, as well as a crossing of the boundaries between reality and fantasy. The results combine styles as diverse as graffiti art through to intricate relief carvings and construction sculpture echoing images of Torres Strait cultural motifs, objects and activity. Robinson’s art reflects the tropical marine environment surrounding Waiben (Thursday Island) and the inhabitants of that environment. It is an essential part of his life and culture, imbued with the customs, traditions and lifestyles of Torres Strait Island people. The animals from ancestral stories and their presence today are an integral feature of Robinson’s work.
Robinson’s sculptural practice stems from the discipline of constructivism, a style of sculpture that emerged in the early twentieth century based on carefully structured modules that allow for intricate, and in some cases infinite, patterns of repetition, sometimes used to create limitless, basically planar, screen-like formations, and sometimes employed to make more multi-dimensional structures. Surface treatments for Robinson’s sculptural works have included coconut-leaf matting, split bamboo, cowrie shells, feathers, lace, photographic prints and linocuts on paper.
His approach to printmaking in both etching and linocut is linear in composition and appearance. These prints illustrate Robinson’s depth of connection to heritage paired with his aesthetic and intellectual exploration of Western art iconography in relation and connection to Torres Strait culture.
Robinson's work has contributed significantly to the environs of Cairns, his home for two decades, through a number of major public art installations including the signature five stainless steel woven fish sculptures and fountain installed on the Cairns Esplanade in 2003. His work has been widely collected both privately and through major institutions both in Australia and overseas. From September 2010 Robinson undertook a 12-month Artist in Residence at Djumbunji Press KickArts Fine Art Printmaking Studio located in Cairns, developing an impressive body of new works in etching and linocut.