Printed Textiles

Collection in Focus

9 Nov 2024 –
19 Jan 2025

In 2015, the Cairns Art Gallery staged an exhibition titled Out of Queensland which featured printed textile lengths by nine Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from Queensland. Each artist was commissioned by the Gallery and worked closely with textile designer Bobbie Reuben, to translate original artworks into repeat patterns for printing onto fabric. The resulting exhibition presented floor to ceiling textile lengths and was staged during the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.

Design and scale were the essential drivers for translating art to fabric. Each artist was inspired to rescale his or her imagery into a repeat-pattern format, imagining how this would complement the drape and movement of pure linen. The resizing and manipulation of elements of artworks required many hours of painstaking drawing, loose painting, masking and carving.

For Naomi Hobson, Heather Koowootha and Brian Robinson, themes of family and connection are integral to the selection of their textile designs.  Claudia Moodoonuthi’s textile Burkunda, is based on bodymarkings, while Arthur Roughsey’s Lardil tradition is represented through Thuwathu, the Rainbow Serpent. For Teho Ropeyarn, the ancestral story about two sister birds looking for scrub yam and the resulting destruction wrecked by trickery was an inspiration for his design.

Gordon Hookey, Vernon Ah Kee and Ryan Presley created designs as powerful statements about contemporary experiences from an Aboriginal perspective. Hookey’s satirical style and his signature character of a kangaroo resulted in a strident yet endearing representation of marsupials with attitude. Here, his Wallaroo design presents an infinite mob of multi-coloured kangaroos wearing Aboriginal flag sunglasses that symbolises seeing things the Murri way – the Aboriginal way.

The textiles in the Out of Queensland exhibition were acquired for the Gallery’s Collection and demonstrate the adaptability, creativity and inventiveness of the nine artists.



Wallaroo  2015
custom-printed linen
Commissioned by Cairns Regional Gallery, 2015

The Cairns Art Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, names or voices of deceased persons in photographs, film or text.