Naomi Hobson is an Artist practising in painting, photography and ceramics. She resides in Coen on the banks of the riverbeds her grandparents were born. Her residence is an old tin shed that was once her village church. Her colourful abstract compositions act as a link between individuality and a shared identity, her photography grapples with indigenous identity and social issues confronting indigenous peoples while her ceramics are a modern expression of her ancient culture. Her continual inspiration is the vast traditional lands of her ancestors surrounding the town of Coen in Queensland and her culture. More recently, Naomi is further inspired by her travels throughout South-east Asia.
Coen is a small township of 300 people at the bottom of the McIlwraith Ranges (part of the Great Dividing Range) surrounded by the east coast of Cape York Peninsula, rainforest and open wooded country, with many river systems that snake down to the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef. The local clans include Kaantju, Umpila, LamaLama, Ayapathu, Wik Mungkan and Olkola. This landscape has provided inspiration for Naomi’s paintings.
“I produce art in my own personal space where I feel comfortable which is mostly at home on my back veranda.”
The landscape of Coen is also imbued with a marked political history. Since European settlement Aboriginal people have maintained a connection to their country through working on pastoral properties. Hobson’s grandfather was employed as a stockman for a European family, while other local indigenous people worked as farmhands (cooking, cleaning, gardening, baby-sitters) for no financial reward. Further, Hobson’s family have been active in indigenous land rights and reform movements in the effort to return traditional lands and on social and economic reforms to her Cape York community of Coen.
Through her art, Hobson continues her family tradition of political and social engagement and having such variety and scope of work provides Hobson with a balance in her life.
“My aboriginality is what grounds me. Through art I get to freely express all of this. I can share my creative freedoms in a contemporary way. I find photography particularly enables me to raise issues and promote awareness of our everyday life experiences.”
“My art practise reflects my individuality… I want my work to tell my stories in an innovative way, I want to introduce new work, to maintain a point of difference, I am wary to re-define and not recycle.”
While Hobson is quick to point out she has been exploring her art practise since her teenage years, in 2007 Hobson commenced her journey as an artist. Naomi Hobson June 2017.