Indepth Arts News: |
"Thancoupie: Spherical Forms, Clay Murals anThrown Stoneware"
2001-07-12 until 2001-08-26
Cairns Regional Gallery
Incorporating over 80 artworks, spanning more than 30 years of the artist’s career, Thancoupie the exhibition, includes examples the artist’s popular spherical forms, clay murals and thrown stoneware. Thancoupie, born Gloria James in Napranum, was the first indigenous student to undertake tertiary training in ceramics, and the first aboriginal artist to combine the ceramic medium with traditional aboriginal imagery.
While clay has always been incorporated in the aboriginal culture through body decoration, wall paintings and in ceremony, it was never actually harnessed as a tool for ceramic moulding.
Indeed, when Thancoupie ventured south from her homelands in Napranum, near Weipa, to undertake formal training in ceramics, she became a pioneer in this medium for her peers.
Thancoupie was trained in a very formalised and rigid style of ceramics, Leach/Hamada, but soon began to experiment with the clay and produce her own very unique and personalised style.
By ‘pushing out’ the walls of the clay with the concave surfaces of her own body, her knees and elbows, Thancoupie created free form shapes, a style more in line with her own creative flow. Once the shape was built, Thancoupie went on to decorate it with traditional imagery from the Napranum people, which was carved on to the clay in flattened and lineal designs.
By creating this visual language, combining ceramic shape with decoration, Thancoupie aims to preserve the ‘stories’ of her people for generations to come; with the imagery so unique to them immortalised within the permanency of fired clay.
Another example of this ceramic ‘story-telling’ is Thancoupie’s clay murals. Comprised of a minimum of 20 clay tiles, each tile individually decorated and glazed, these murals have been stylised along similar lines as the artist’s early bark paintings.
Thancoupie, the exhibition, is accompanied by an in-depth catalogue, outlining the history of the artist and her works; this available for sale from the Cairns Regional Gallery Shop.