Naomi Hobson / Kaantju/Umpila people / Australia b.1978 / Malkarti Pole (Dancing Pole) 2017 / Earthenware, hand-built terracotta clay with incised white slip / 65.5 x 10cm / Purchased 2017 with funds from Jane and Michael Tynan through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Naomi Hobson

Naomi Hobson
Malkarti Pole (Dancing Pole) 2017

Not Currently on Display

Malkarti Pole (Dancing Pole) celebrates people coming together and rejoicing in their culture; the hand-built straight cylindrical structures with tapering necks are made from ochre-colour clay that are incised through a white slip with patterns based on skin designs of circles and triangles. Naomi Hobson explains that the triangular designs indicates journeys ― tracks that people follow across the land to meet and celebrate with dance and ceremony, while the the circles of various sizes indicates the meeting places ― big and small (or of children and adults) ― that are encountered along these journeys.

The best-known practitioner of Indigenous ceramic tradition was pioneering artist, the late Thanakupi. While Thanakupi was based in Cairns and often spoke of her practice as working with the very sands of her country, Hobson is heading up a small enterprise further north where she is combining her personal skills in ceramics and painting with a strong belief in the importance of education and Indigenous heritage. She is set to foster a new generation of art production in the region.

Naomi Hobson is from the Kaantju/Umpila language group and grew up in the township of Coen, near the Lockhart River community in North Queensland’s remote Cape York Peninsula. A region of extensive lush rainforests, vast open country bounded by snaking rivers and the sea, Hobson speaks of her experiences of a country passed down to her through more than a thousand generations, that is a source of inspiration and gives her ‘the power to imagine and the freedom to create things’.1

Primarily a painter, Hobson recently turned to the medium of clay, and has since become the central figure in the establishment of mainland Australia’s most northerly ceramics program — the Kalan Clay House — based in her hometown of Coen.


1. Naomi Hobson quoted in Naomi Hobson: Kanichi – On Top People [exhibition catalogue], Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, 2016, unpaginated.

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