Idas Losin / Taiwan b.1976 / Floating 2017 / Oil on canvas / 135 x 179cm / Purchased 2019. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Idas Losin

Idas Losin
Floating 2017

On Display: Regional Touring Exhibition

Sparse and dreamlike, the paintings of Idas Losin are evocative renderings of islands and seascapes, in particular the islands of Lanyu (Orchid Island) and Jimagaod (Lesser Orchid Island), off the south-east coast of Taiwan. Her oil on canvas works depict the tatara fishing canoes of the Tao people — the tatara at rest, preparing to launch, and afloat in calm waters.

Decorated with both carved and painted emblems of the sea, ancestral beings and flying fish, the tatara, with their distinct upturned bow and stern and eyes at both ends, act as extensions of the human body and provide links between heaven and life on earth. Reflecting the significance of fishing for the Tao people, Losin’s sublime paintings — particularly Floating, with its alternating brushstrokes of golden waves — embody moments of respite and stillness.

Idas Losin is a Taiwanese aboriginal artist of Truku and Atayal heritage. After graduating from high school, she began working on documentary films about Taiwanese tribes, focusing on the stories of elders. A touring exhibition of Indigenous Australian art at Taipei MOCA in 2003 inspired her to tell the stories of her own community through a visual, material practice. She has since travelled to Australia, North America and the Pacific to study the expression of indigenous and First Nations perspectives through art.

Losin’s paintings are characterised by their fine brushwork and stark composition on a flat plane. Her portraits and landscapes often incorporate tattoos and woven patterns, or depict the topography of the Pacific. She is committed to issues relevant to Taiwanese Aboriginal people, and to exploring the narratives of the movement of Austronesian peoples, languages and cultures from Taiwan into the Pacific.