Arone Meeks

It is with deep sadness we learnt of the untimely death of Arone on 21st May 2021 after a short battle with cancer. Arone will be remembered as an important contemporary Australian artist and leading indigenous arts and rights activist. The Australian Art Network had the honor and privilege of exhibiting the artist’s work in it’s Sydney and Cairns galleries.

Arone Raymond Meeks was born in his tribal area of Laura in Far North Queensland.

He had both a traditional and formal education, having been taught by his grandfather and other relatives before going to study at the City Art Institute in Sydney. He later returned to Queensland to study with various tribal elders, including those of the Lardil people of Mornington Island.

Meeks valued this combination of training and experience; his work employed both traditional images and themes arising out of his concern with the issue of land rights.

A former founding member of the Boomalli urban Aboriginal artist’s co-operative, he won an Australia Council fellowship to study in Paris in 1989 and went on to exhibit throughout Europe, the Pacific and North and South America.

Arone begun printmaking in 1982 in collaboraton with printmaker Theo Tremblay. His work was also influenced by his participation in a cultural exchange to Santa Fe, in the United States, during the 1990s. He believed that: “Printmaking has given me another medium of creativity to explore. The directness and fluid qualities have made it possible to introduce a freshness and immediacy to my work. I begun to create a new language of symbols through this process”. He had a very keen eye for graphic detail and always worked with several possibilities as he entered an intellectual discourse with the work.

He is well known for his illustrations for children’s books, including ‘When The World Was New’, ‘This Is Still Rainbow Snake Country’ and ‘The Pheasant and Kingfisher’. He wrote and illustrated ‘ Enora and the Black Crane’ which won the 1992 UNICEF- Ezra Jack Keats Award for International Excellence in Children’ s Book Illustration.
Collections
Artbank, Sydney.
Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.
Australian National Gallery, Canberra.
Australian National Maritime Museum, Pyrmont NSW
Australian Museum, Sydney.
Australian National Museum, Canberra.
Australian National University, Canberra
Australia Post.
Biblioteque Nationale, Paris
The Bromberg Collection, Cincinnati, USA
Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns
Central Collection, Australian National University, Canberra.
City Gallery, Christchurch, New Zealand
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.
QAGOMA, Brisbane Queensland
Institute of American Indian Art, Santa Fe USA
Kelton Foundation, Los Angeles, USA.
Kickarts Contemporary Arts, Cairns
Massachusetts College of Art, Boston.
Nationale Bibliotech de Paris, France
National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Canberra
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
National Gallery of Japan.
National Museum of Australia, Canberra.
Oodgeroo Collection Qld. University of Technology.
OTC Australia
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.
Robert Holmes a Court Collection, Perth.
The Simons Foundation, Vancouver, Canada.
University of NSW, Sydney
University of Qld,
Individual Exhibitions
1995 Arone, Le Cake,Cairns, FNQ.
1995 Black Crane, Lizard of Oz, Taos, New Mexico.
1996 What Now – A New Direction, Adrian Newstead Gallery, Sydney.
1997 Common Ground, including collaborative works from Santa Fe, Drill Hall ANU.
1999 Cycad Dreaming, Solo Exhibition, The Tanks,Cairns FNQ.
1999 Fetish – Flinders University Art Museum,Feast Festival, Adelaide.
2000 Towards a New Dreaming, Cooee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Sydney.
2003 Saltwater Story, Cairns Regional Gallery, Carins
2004 Artist Collection, Tanks Art Centre, Cairns
2005 New Directions, Framed Gallery, Darwin
2006 Now Time Portal to a Dream, Kick Arts, Cairns
2007 Blue Lung Breath, Australian and Oceanic Art, Port Douglas
White Coral Spawning, RM Gallery, Brisbane
2009 Cell arts space, Cairns,Canopy Ar t Space,Cairns
2010 Art Mob Tasmania, Cross Currents, Australian and Oceanic Arts, Port Douglas, Mooree Plains Regional Gallery.
2011 Forces of Nature, Australian Art Network/Canopy Artspace, Cairns
Group Exhibitions
1978 Travelling exhibition Munich, Dusseldorf, Kline, Germany
1980 Seymour Centre, Sydney.
1981 Artists for Aboriginal Land Rights, Ampira, Sydney.
1982 Aboriginal Week Exhibition, Art Gallery NSW, Sydney.
1983 Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Bondi Community Pavilion, Sydney.
1984 Koori Art ’84, Artspace, Sydney; The First National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the NT, Darwin.
1986 Urban Koories, Willoughby Workshop Arts Centre, Sydney.
1987 Cooper Gallery, Sydney; Dalkuna Mnunuway Nhe Rom, Foreign Exchange Gallery, Armadale, Victoria; Art and Aboriginality, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, UK; Aboriginal Australian views in print and poster, travelling exhibition, Print Council of Australia; Coo-ee Emporium, Sydney; Australian Geographics.
1988 Craft Council of Australia Exhibition, Sydney; Aboriginal Artists Gallery, Sydney; Perc Tucker Gallery, Townsville; Capricorn Galleries, Port Douglas; Defacto Apartheid, Performance Space, Sydney. ANCAAA and Boomalli, Sydney
1989 A Koori Perspective, Artspace, Sydney; Aboriginal Art: The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
1990 Painted Ship, Painted Oceans, S. H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney; Balance 1990: Views, Visions, Influences, QAG, Brisbane; The Pemulwuy Dilemma, The voice of Koorie Art in the Sydney Region.
1992 Redescubrimiento/Rediscovery: Australian Artists in Europe 1982-1992
1993 Commitments, MOCA, Brisbane; Ten Years of Acquisitions, Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra
1994 Malu Urul, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney; New Tracks Old Land, Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico USA.
1995 Local Colours, Cairns Regional Gallery; Trade Routes, Moree Regional Gallery, Armidale Aboriginal Keeping Place.
1996 Tribal Metaphysics – a Meeting Place, Grosvenor Place,Sydney; Collaboration with Liz Gallie,Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns; Cairns International Airport Commission – 8 Panels, 56 metre Sculptural Frieze.
1997 Children’s Art Exhibition touring Italy, Germany, France to 1999, Ashton Scholastic.
1998 Commission, Bulletin Place, Sydney; Selected Work, Blake Prize for Religious Art, Sydney.
1999 Body, Group Show, Tanks Art Centre, Cairns; Meeks and Company, Mardi Gras Exhibition, Cooee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Sydney; Love Magic,  SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney; Private Commission, Synergy Telecommunications, Germany; Commission, Cairns Convention Centre, Sculptural Frieze, 8 panels; Respect, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane;
16th NATSI Art Award, MAGNT, Darwin
2000 Journeying the Same Land, Cairns Regional Gallery; Cook Islands, Festival of Pacific Arts.
2002 Local Colour, Local Lives, Cairns Regional Gallery; Shades of Pink, Manly Art Gallery & Museum; Accommodating Differences, Tanks Art Centre and Centre of Contemporary Arts New Zealand.
2003 Story Place, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Weereewa Wood Cuts II, Festival of Lake George, Bungendore, Woodworks Gallery, Bungendore NSW; Beneath the Monsoon: Visions of Capricorn, Artspace Mackay, Cairns Regional Gallery, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville.
2004 FNQ Souvenir, Kickarts touring exhibition, Gab Titui, Thursday Island; Gallery Hinchinbrook, Ingham; New Land Gallery, Port Adelaide; Millicent Gallery, South Australia; Hervey Bay Regional Gallery;
Recent Work, Bath Street Gallery, Auckland, NZ; Postcard Show, Cairns Regional Gallery; Glare, Kickarts Insider Exhibition, Cairns; NADIOC Regional Exhibition, Tanks, Cairns; Touch of Mandela, collaborative work with Nelson Mandela; World and Cultural Heritage, International Group Exhibition with Global Culture Centre of Japan; Hitting on and Kicking Off, KickArts inaugural exhibition for new Centre of Contemporary Arts, Cairns.
2005 Homefront, Kickarts, Cairns; Post Card Show, Cairns Regional Gallery; The Nelson Mandela Unity Series, Switzerland; Men Under/Manunda, Gallery 53, Cairns; Works on Paper, Bowen Galleries, Wellington NZ.
2006 Black Pink and Delicious, Mardi Gras, Boomalli, Sydney; Beyond the Dreaming, Frances Reilly Gallery, Eumundi.
2007 Hidden Treasures, Cairns Regional Gallery; Edge Kickarts Gallery; Boomalli 20th Anniversary Show, Sydney; Looking Foward Looking Blak, Kickarts, Cairns; New Perspectives, Gallery A, Sydney.
2008 On the Edge, Tanks Art Centre, Cairns (Travelling Exhibition); Northern Stars, Djumbunji/Kickarts, Cairns; The Salon: Postcard Show, Cairns Regional Gallery.
2009 This is Cassowary Country, Cairns Regional Gallery; Vivo Group Show, Palm Cove; Hand in Hand, Boomalli, Sydney; Twelve Degrees of Latitude, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville; QUT Art Museum, Brisbane
2010 The Salon: The 2012 Postcard Show, Cairns Regional Gallery; Boomalli Group Show, Sydney. Vivo Group Show, Palm Cove, Black Friar, Sydney; In Two Art, Maitland Regional Gallery; Twelve Degrees of Latitude, Logan Art Gallery, Logan City; Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum; Artspace, Mackay; Twoomba Regional Art Gallery; University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery; Sydney Art Fair, Cicada Gallery.
2011 Familiar Unfamiliar touring show, Sydney; Forces of Nature, Cyclone Series, Boomalli, Sydney; Knock-Knock Art Show; 12 Degrees of Latitude, Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery, Warwick Art Gallery, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Cairns Regional Gallery, Outback Regional Gallery, Winton, Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, Hervey Bay Regional Gallery; Redcliffe City Gallery, Redland Art Gallery, Redland City; 2011 New York Affordable Art Fair, Cicada Gallery; Pride Exhibition, Tanks Art Centre, Cairns.
2012 Pink Sunrise, Boomalli, Sydney; 25th Anniversary Boomalli Show, Sydney; Print Council of Australia, 45th Anniversary Touring Print Show; Big Wet Monoprints, Gabrielle Pizzi Gallery, Melbourne; Melbourne Art Fair; Cairns Indigenous Art Fair; Kickarts; Cairns Casino; Knock-Knock Affordable Art Show, c.1907 Gallery, Cairns; Inkmasters Print Exhibition, Tanks Art Centre, Cairns; Perc Tucker Gallery, Townsville; Author Illustrator, Cairns Regional Gallery; Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair, Cicada Gallery; New York Affordable Art Fair, Cicada Gallery; Houston, My Country, Cicada Gallery; Familiar Unfamiliar Touring Show, Paris, Cicada Gallery; Pride Exhibition, Tanks Art Centre, Cairns.
2013 Members Show, Boomalli, Sydney; Inside/Out (Inkmasters), c.1907, Cairns; Cairns Indigenous Art Fair; Canopy Artspace, Cairns; Familiar Unfamiliar Touring Show; Knock Knock Exhibition, Cairns.
2014 East Coast Encounters Australian National Maritime Museum Sydney; CAIF, Cairns; Darwin Art Fair.
2015 Agenda, Boomalli, Sydney; Freshwater Saltwater Umi Arts, Cairns;| Boomalli Members Show, Sydney.
2016 Korean Print exhibition, Korea, Japan; Pride, Tanks, Cairns; Mardi Gras Show Boomalli, Sydney, Artnow, Cairns Regional  Gallery
Films
CIAF
Bibliography
1986, Urban Koories, exhib. cat., Workshop Arts Centre, Willoughby, New South Wales.
1989, Nothing to Celebrate? Australian Aboriginal Political Art and the Bicentennial, exhib. cat., Flinders University Art Museum. 1989, Australian Perspecta 1989, A Biennial Survey of Contemporary Australian Art, exhib. cat., Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. 1989, A Koori Perspective, exhib. cat., Artspace, Sydney.
1990, Balance 1990: Views, Visions, Influences, exhib. cat., Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. (C)
Aboriginal Arts Management Association, 1990, Contemporary Aboriginal Art 1990 – from Australia (presented by the Aboriginal Arts Committee, Australia Council and Third Eye Centre, Glasgow), exhib. cat., Redfern, New South Wales. (C)
Berndt, C. H., 1987, Pheasant and Kingfisher, illustrated by Ray Meeks, Bookshelf Books, Horwitz Grahame Pty. Ltd., United Kingdom.
Boomalli Five Koorie Artists (d: Michael Riley) 1988. (C)
Butler, R., 1986, ‘From dreamtime to machine time,’ Imprint 21(3-4), 12,13. (C)
Johnson, T. and Johnson, V.,1984, Koori Art ’84, exhib. cat., Art Space, Sydney. (C)
Caruana, W., 1993, Aboriginal Art, Thames and Hudson, London. (C)
Isaacs, J., 1989, Aboriginality: Contemporary Aboriginal Paintings and Prints, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Queensland. (C)
Johnson, V., 1987, Art and Aboriginality, exhib. cat., Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, UK.
McCulloch, A., & McCulloch, S., 1994, The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd, St Leonards, New South Wales.
Lambert, A., 1984, ‘Shattering the myth that Aboriginal art exists only in traditional forms,’ Australian Artist, 1(4), 24-25. (C)
Meeks, A.R., 1991, Enora and the Black Crane, Ashton Scholastic, Sydney. (C)
Samuels, J. and C. Watson, 1987, Australian Aboriginal Views in Print and Poster, Print Council of Australia, Melbourne.
Stamp Bulletin – Australia, Jan 1986, Melbourne, No. 182.
Scott-Mundine, D., 1990, ‘Black on Black: an Aboriginal perspective on Koori art,’ Art Monthly Australia Supplement (The land, the city – the emergence of urban Aboriginal art), 7-9. (C)
Watson, C., 1987, Dalkuna Mnunuwuy Nhe Rom, exhib. cat., Foreign Exchange, Armadale, Victoria.
Watson, C., 1990, ‘The Bicentenary and beyond: recent developments in Aboriginal printmaking,’ Special Double Issue Artlink 10(1&2), 70-73. (C)

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