An artist whose works made a huge impression on me is Vernon Ah Kee. His large scale drawings in charcoal, pastel and synthetic polymer paint on canvas feature family members. The canvasses measure some 3.2m x 2.4m. The images are built up with feather-light strokes of charcoal, gently creating form and volume. No false starts are evident here!
These drawings form part of another exhibition currently at the Gallery of Modern Art Ten Years of Contemporary Art :The James C. Sourris Collection
“In recent years, Brisbane benefactor James C Sourris, AM, has been gathering an extensive collection of contemporary Australian art, focusing on the first decade of the twenty-first century and paying particular attention to Queensland artists."
Annie Ah Kee 2008 pastel, charcoal and synthetic polymer paint on canvas
neither pride nor courage is a triptych of his grandfather in frontal and profile pose. The third portrait is of his young son.
Vernon Ah Kee | Kuku Yalanji/Waanyi/Yidinyji/Guugu Yimithirr people | Australia b.1967 | neither pride nor courage (detail) 2006 | Pastel, charcoal and synthetic polymer paint on canvas.
Writing in The Australian 12 July 2008 - The Face: Vernon Ah Kee, Rosmary Sorenson includes the following observations:
According to Ah Kee, Aboriginal art should be as varied as the lives of Aborigines.
"My work is about my life now," he says. "I use my own family to demonstrate the depth and complexity of modern Aboriginal life.
"I'm expanding the idea of what it means to be Aboriginal and what it means to be human. A lot of the problem this country has with Aboriginal people is that it struggles to see Aboriginal people as fully human."
Bella Ami 2008 pastel, charcoal and synthetic polymer paint on canvas
I have included a detail of Bella Ami to try to give you some idea of the delicate line work that makes these drawings so special.
Detail: Bella Ami
Annie Ah Sam pastel, charcoal and synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Please note: All photographs were taken with my iPhone camera without flash so the quality is not too good.