On Display: GOMA, Gallery 3.5
Groups of camp dogs are a common sight where Craig Koomeeta lives in far north Queensland; they roam the streets of the Aurukun community looking for food and shady places to rest. They are often thought of as family members and some take on a spiritual quality, linking them with the Dingo Dreaming.
This ku’ (camp dog) shows the quirky edge that has made Aurukun carving popular. This dog belongs to a group of ku’ expressing a range of traits and expressions — the cheeky larrikin, the overexcited puppy, the snarling menace, the well-fed leader, the three-legged soldier, the old grey laying in the dust.
Craig Koomeeta was born in Cairns in 1977 and lives in Aurukun on western Cape York Peninsula. Koomeeta learnt his people’s traditional stories from his uncle, Roland Toikalkin, and he has been carving wooden forms since he was 14.
In 2001, Koomeeta became the first Aurukun artist to enter the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award; he was subsequently awarded the Wandjuk Marika Three-Dimensional Memorial Award for his sculpture Saltwater crocodile 2002, also in the Queensland Art Gallery’s Collection.