Josiah Omeenyo 'Snorkeling through the reef' 2011
Acrylic on linen, 2011
Dimensions: 1160 x 1950mm
Artist: Josiah Omeenyo
Region: Lockhart River
Language: Umpila / Kanthanampu
Biography: My name is Josiah Omeenyo. I represent the Kanthanampu-Claudie River and Umpila-Pataku River, north-east of Coen. My dad's family comes from Darnley Island (Erub), the Sailor family. I am from a family of three. I have a son, Taren Omeenyo, and a daughter, Timesha Casey. My mother is an artist weaving baskets.
I have worked for several organisations in Cairns in the past but now work as an artist and mentor. I am a Certificate III teacher.
I am a cultural leader and have taken children around for various cultural festivals as song and dance ensembles.
Up until now my focus was on dance but recently I have greatly felt the pull towards visual arts, especially painting. I've been doing dancing and singing for so long – I learnt it from my grandparents – then something was bothering me, saying softly, "Can you paint?" And I said to myself, in my head quietly, "Yes, you can."
So I went to my local art gallery (Lockhart River Art Centre) and began my career as a painter. I had my first exhibition in Brisbane, where we danced for ceremony with my Elder and a young man. My paintings reflect the landscape and clan groups.