Naomi Hobson, Southern Kaantju/Umpila people, Queensland, born Coen, Queensland 1978, Touch the River Floor, 2019, Coen, Queensland, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 205.5 x 209.5 cm; Acquisition through Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art supported by BHP 2019, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Naomi Hobson.

Naomi Hobson is a Southern Kaantju/Umpila woman who lives in Coen, a small town of 360 people in the centre of Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland. A multidisciplinary artist, she regularly works across the mediums of painting, ceramics and photography. Inspired by her direct environment, Hobson’s works express her ongoing connection to Country and her ancestors’ ties and relationships with their traditional lands.

Touch the River Floor, 2019, is inspired by Hobson's direct environment and connection to the Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland. This work explores the vastness, colour and patterns of Country. Hobson describes being woken at night by colour. She also speaks of how sometimes a particular place or location in her home of Coen will come to her as a colour. Country and colour are connected for Hobson, who says: ‘I was brought up with the widest hue – it’s very bright where I live in Cape York.’ This chromatic intensity is conveyed in Touch the River Floor and is a reminder that, for some people, colour is experienced through other senses, including touch, taste, sound and scent, as well as through sight.

Inspired by Kaantju/Umpila artist Naomi Hobson, Year 3 students created their own earth feathers that look at the connection between colour, pattern and marks found in nature locally. The shapes of the paintings represent gum leaves which fall from the trees that surround the school, akin to feathers. Students used acrylic paint and plastic lids to then make marks overlapping their base patterns. Visual Arts Coordinator Sharon Lynch used AGSA's 'Starting with an artist flowchart' which she has shared with us to show how she arrived at the activity for her students. This process demonstrates how simple it is to respond appropriately to an artist's work without the need for copying.