Fiona Omeenyo – Ancestors and Spirits
21 July – 12 September 2017
Fiona Omeenyo draws on the culture and story-telling of her home community at Lockhart River in northern Queensland to make paintings of the spirits of both living and past occupants. Her approach is highly individualistic, creating amorphous figures that merge into the environment and the background.
A room full of her paintings creates the sense of movement and activity, the ongoing world of spirit forms and human endeavours. Fiona’s style uses figurative elements that have a mythical, abstracted feeling, where the figures are carved or etched into the background layers of paint to become part of the landscape. She bases many of her paintings around the ancestral Creation stories of her homelands, as told to her by her uncle. Fiona defines these ancestral stories as “true stories … things that really happened … before time.”
Fiona says of her paintings that show images of birds – “Elders say that when we pass, our spirits leave us and fly into the sunset.” In the paintings from this series the Elders have taken an ethereal bird-like form as they fly over the sun-kissed land, their wings gilt with light, towards the rich red sunset.