Naomi Hobson

Life on the River

8 Jun –
1 Sep 2024

Life On The River brings together a series of new photographs by multidisciplinary artist Naomi Hobson. Taken during the wet season, the images capture Coen’s vibrant river culture and the relationships between the people and Wukaanta – The Coen River. These works highlight the centrality of the river to life in Coen. 

These photographs represent a true picture of our way of life. They are intimate pictures of river life and my connection to Country. Living on the river is part of our daily existence and defines who we are as people from Coen, how we look and how we live. The river is spiritually important to us. It represents our history. Our people are buried along the river and there are special birthing sites. The river has fed us for thousands of years - we have laid on the sandbanks and looked at the same star constellations as our ancestors. For us – it’s life. This series of photographs tells our river story. 

Naomi Hobson, 2024 

The images are truthful and playful. They portray everyday life during the monsoon season in Coen, capturing the colour of Cape York Peninsula’s wet season and all the bugs, birds, insects, and food gathering that takes place along the river that runs directly past the township. 

Each photograph captures the moment - the seconds of everyday interactions with the river - with an honesty and reality that underlies the kin-relationship between subject and artist.

Together the works represent the story cycle that Wukaanta has provided, and which has been absorbed by one generation after another. The happenings of today are projected into the past as precisely and explicitly as the happenings of yesterday. Naomi Hobson has an intimate knowledge of nature’s ways, the humorous mimicry of human behaviour, and the peculiar habits of the creature world – all of which are deftly interwoven and presented in her new series of photographs.

  – Shonae Hobson, Consultant Curator


This exhibition has been supported through a Cairns RSL Club Artist Fellowship Award


Selected works


Installation images



Fragility from the Life On The River series 2024
pigment print on archival cotton rag paper 
75 x 113 cm 
Courtesy of the artist

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