Zenadh Kes: Art is Life, 2014

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Brian Robinson has literally carved a distinctive presence within the remarkably talented generation of Indigenous Australian artists who have come to the fore in recent years. His graphic prints and contemporary sculptures read as episodes in an intriguing narrative, revealing the strong tradition of storytelling within his community of Zenadh Kes and his connection to the contemporary world.

Robinson’s experience in the art world extends well beyond his practice as an artist, having worked in a curatorial role spanning fifteen years at Cairns Regional Gallery as well as residing on numerous local, state and national visual arts boards. A prolific artist whose work includes the planar surface and three-dimensional forms, Robinson works to extend the paradigm of contemporary Torres Strait Islander art to embrace artistic classicism from numerous points.

His approach to his printmaking practice is linear and often playful. The exhibition’s collection illustrated Robinson’s depth of connection to his heritage, paired with his aesthetic and intellectual exploration of Western iconography. References that spring from the artist’s childhood fascination with the artistic appurtenances of Catholic Mass and Hero worship, whether it is of biblical, Greek or Torres Strait Islander derivation, are repeated themes and these grand narratives are peppered with more prosaic symbolism and stylistic influences such as comic book characters, everyday objects, and graffiti art.