In these intimate intergenerational portraits, Naomi Hobson shares an affectionate illustration of Kaantju and Umpila boys, adult men and elders from her community. Adorned in lively flowers identified in their hometown of Coen in far north Queensland, these ‘warriors without having a weapon’ share the cultural practice of decorating their beards in planning of ceremony and to reclaim authorship around how they are represented in the general public area.
Studio portraits of Indigenous peoples have historically been taken by non-Indigenous photographers however, in this emotive collection, the direction of their gaze subtly reflects Hobson’s kinship lines involving herself and the subjects.
Associated: Indigenous Australian art
The photographic sequence A Warrior with no a Weapon 2018 aims to split negative stereotypical representations of Australian Indigenous adult males in the general public domain by affirming that that they also can be sensitive and caring.1
Inviting the sitters to her dwelling, it was crucial for Hobson to initial have interaction in conversation with the men about their representation. This crucial action of consultation and self-determination for the men, a person that Hobson has witnessed as absent in the greater part of media portrayals and historic data of Aboriginal men, is the defining element of the series. The rely on and treatment that was taken throughout this process is prepared on the stern, inquisitive and, at occasions, vulnerable faces, quite a few of whom maintain eye call with the lens or are turned to gaze in contemplation. Hobson demonstrates:
Every single photograph demanded a discussion about the strategy and the narrative: of being portrayed to show a loving aspect of indigenous guys. Getting a member of the Coen community, and getting regarded as an artist at house, every time I create a system of operate, there is often an enthusiasm from individuals to be concerned. There is a human rely on in my messaging and our individuals have pleasure in themselves and what they stand for.2
Associated: QAGOMA’s vision for reconciliation
Hobson’s relationships with the topics are subtlety hinted to as perfectly she states
the photograph positions I have preferred replicate my relationship with the subject together kinship strains.3
Just about every on a subject of black or white, the adult males and their adornments glow. Flowers regional to the Coen location are meticulously positioned in the men’s facial hair signalling prosperity, life and attractiveness. Whilst these floral arrangements display a nurturing facet, they are also a apparent reference of cultural identification. Adorning a beard with flowers is an acknowledgement of a ‘cult hero’, who is regarded amongst the locals of Coen, amplifying the narrative of a warrior devoid of a weapon.
Political, social and community engagement is a longstanding element of Hobson’s observe which she sights as a continuation of her relatives custom.
Katina Davidson is Curator, Indigenous Australian Art, QAGOMA
1 Naomi Hobson artist assertion, emailed to Curator, Indigenous Australian Art, 16 August 2018
2/3 E mail correspondence from the artist to Assistant Curator, Indigenous Australian Art, 5 February 2019
Acknowledgment of Region
The Queensland Artwork Gallery | Gallery of Modern-day Artwork acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Gallery stands in Brisbane. We shell out respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders previous and existing and, in the spirit of reconciliation, admit the enormous imaginative contribution To start with Australians make to the artwork and culture of this state.