Brian Robinson, Malu mandala I
Edition of 30, 2011.
Published by Djumbunji Press KickArts Fine Art Printmaking.
Edtioning printer: Elizabeth Hunter
Image size: 380mm x 390mm
Paper size: 675mm x 600mm
Artist: Brian Robinson
Region: Waiben (Thursday Island) Torres Strait
Language: Kala Lagaw Ya
Artist bio: Brian Robinson is a multi-skilled contemporary artist, whose practice includes painting, printmaking, sculpture and design. The graphic style in his practice combines his Torres Strait Islander heritage with a strong passion for experimentation, both in theoretical approach and medium, as well as a crossing of the boundaries between reality and fantasy. The results combine styles as diverse as graffiti art through to intricate relief carvings and construction sculpture echoing images of Torres Strait cultural motifs, objects and activity. Robinson’s art reflects the tropical marine environment surrounding Waiben (Thursday Island) and the inhabitants of that environment. It is an essential part of his life and culture, imbued with the customs, traditions and lifestyles of Torres Strait Island people. The animals from ancestral stories and their presence today are an integral feature of Robinson’s work.
Robinson’s sculptural practice stems from the discipline of constructivism, a style of sculpture that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s based on carefully structured modules that allow for intricate, and in some cases infinite, patterns of repetition, sometimes used to create limitless, basically planar, screen-like formations, and sometimes employed to make more multi-dimensional structures. Surface treatments for Robinson’s sculptural works have included coconut-leaf matting, split bamboo, cowrie shells, feathers, lace, photographic prints and linocuts on paper.
His approach to printmaking in both etching and linocut is linear in composition and appearance. These prints illustrate Robinson’s depth of connection to heritage paired with his aesthetic and intellectual exploration of Western art iconography in relation and connection to Torres Strait culture.
Robinson's work has contributed significantly to the environs of Cairns, his home for two decades, through a number of major public art installations including the signature five stainless steel woven fish sculptures and fountain installed on the Cairns Esplanade in 2003. His work has been widely collected both privately and through major institutions both in Australia and overseas. From September 2010 Robinson undertook a 12-month Artist in Residence at Djumbunji Press KickArts Fine Art Printmaking Studio located in Cairns, developing an impressive body of new works in etching and linocut.
Artwork story: People in most communities belong to clan groups associated with one particular augud or totem. Some clans had more then one totem. Clan members lived in the one village or in a section of a large village on an island. An augud was not restricted to any one island and this was of great assistance when trading between islands because, as was the case with inter-island marriage links, people with a certain augud would be received with hospitality on another island if members of the same totem lived there.
Totems fell into two groups: those named after living things found on the land, koi augud, meaning great totem, and those named after living things in the sea, mugi augud, meaning small totem.
Catalogue ID: BRRO046