Gordon Hookey was born in Cloncurry, Queensland in 1961. He currently lives and works in Brisbane. Hookey belongs to the Waanyi people and locates his art at the interface where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures converge. He explicitly attacks the establishment and implicates our current political representatives.
His style and approach is distinctive in its vibrancy and best known for its biting satire of Australia’s political landscape, its leaders and representatives. Hookey's work combines figurative characters, iconic symbols, bold comic-like text, and a spectrum of vibrant colours. Through this idiosyncratic visual language he has developed a unique and immediately recognisable style. Hookey’s perspective comes from a divergent, activist positioning – his work challenges hierarchies, skewering the status and integrity of the ‘elite’, while working to bolster the position of the marginalised and oppressed.
Art was part of Hookey's upbringing; he has been painting since Grade 2 at school but would get frustrated because he always saw things differently. He was encouraged to learn a trade and, after completing his school certificate in 1977, Hookey embarked on a course in bricklaying which he completed in 1984. He saw his trade experience as an advantage because his favoured medium is sculpture. He states: "Painting is like a waltz, sculpture is like heavy metal: sculpture is more active and physical, it enables me to get my hands dirty.
Hookey is a core member of Brisbane-based Indigenous collective proppaNOW alongside fellow artists including Richard Bell, Vernon Ah Kee and Jennifer Herd. His work is held in major collections within Australia including the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art and University of Queensland Art Museum in Brisbane in Brisbane, Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth, National Gallery of Australia and Australian National University in Canberra, National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, University of Technology in Sydney and a number of significant private collections.
Picture: Gordon Hookey - Provided by Milani Gallery