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Life and Art of Ron Hurley Celebrated with New Publication and Exhibition

The creative legacy of Queensland Indigenous artist Ron Hurley is honoured through a new publication and an exhibition now showing at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art until October 25.

Queensland Art Gallery Director Tony Ellwood said the exhibition ‘Nurreegoo: The art and life of Ron Hurley 1946 – 2002’ featured more than 50 art works which highlighted Hurley’s career over three decades.

‘Ron Hurley was a highly regarded political activist, leader and advocate for the artistic, cultural and human rights of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,’ Mr Ellwood said.

‘He was born in 1946 into the Gooreng Gooreng and Mununjali peoples of south east Queensland.

‘In 1975, he became one of the first Aboriginal people to finish formal art school, graduating from Queensland College of Art, and the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane in 1978.

‘This exhibition of drawings, painting and sculptures honours Ron Hurley’s art and life, and reflects various life experiences of east-coast Aboriginal people.

‘Audiences will encounter many of Hurley’s finest works, including those inspired by Aboriginal cricketer Eddie Gilbert. In addition to the Queensland Art Gallery’s painting Bradman Bowled Gilbert 1989 visitors to the exhibition will see the major triptych Gilbert Bowling, Bradman, Wicketkeeper 1990, on loan from the National Gallery of Australia,’ he said.

‘Connections to Ron Hurley’s culture and the country of his Gooreng Gooreng and Mununjali peoples are evident through the selected works. ‘The works also include references to totems from his mother’s Gooreng Gooreng nation — Gynala (owl) is the family totem and wajgan (willie wagtail) was Ron’s personal totem.’

Mr Ellwood said the accompanying exhibition catalogue was the first major publication on the artist.

‘The fully illustrated publication accompanying the exhibition is an in-depth exploration of Hurley’s work, with contributions from his collaborators, friends and family. It includes essays by exhibition curator Bruce McLean, Associate Curator, Indigenous Australian Art at the Queensland Art Gallery, and interviews with fellow artists Warren Palmer and Matt Tobin,’ he said.

The publication, Nurregegoo: The art and life of Ron Hurley 1946-2002, is available from the Gallery Store or online at from September 12. It has been supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and Trade Queensland’s Queensland Indigenous Arts Marketing and Export Agency (QIAMEA).

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