The Mystic Magic of Dennis Nona

One of Australia’s best artists on exhibition at Art Mob

Dennis Nona, Saral Kaiwal
Dennis Nona, Saral Kaiwal

Hailing from the Torres Strait Islands, Dennis Nona is one of Australia’s most celebrated and impressive artists. Creating paintings, etchings, wooden sculptures, and linocut prints, Nona’s artistic abilities are second to none, so it’s no surprise he is considered one of the country’s greatest artists. Nona draws on ancestral history and the legends of Badu Island to tell detailed stories through his art, and these stories will all be told at his upcoming exhibition with Art Mob.

Dennis Nona, Danaka Iakami
Dennis Nona, Danaka Iakami, Linocut with Badu island clay & oil based ink on artists paper 1230 x 740mm paper, 1380 x 890mm frame , $1800 unframed, $2400 framed

Born in 1973, Nona’s artistic abilities were honed at a young age. He started his artistic career in woodcarving, a traditional art form, and one that he picked up as a boy.

Dennis Nona, Zagal Palaik Alpaca
Dennis Nona, Zagal Palaik Alpaca, Hand coloured linocut print on paper 400 x 1210mm paper image, 400 x 1210mm paper, 1465 x 695mm frame, Unframed $1870, Framed $2410

Since then, he has always been keen to keep these traditional practices alive, relying on them to retell the stories of his people; for Nona, there is no better way to retain his culture than through his art. To this day, his work continues to tell ancient histories, though he has broadened his horizon to a range of mediums.

Dennis Nona, Tagia Purutaik (Feeding Along Mangroves)
Dennis Nona, Tagia Purutaik (Feeding Along Mangroves), Local blue clay mix with red mangrove bark juice, PVC & Bondcrete on canvas, 760 x 760mm , $4400

In his upcoming exhibition for Art Mob, Nona’s extensive artistic talent shines through; moving into a new medium once more, he is embracing local clays and colouring agents, creating work in organic colours that imbue the natural world with the canvases on display. Nona portrays both the extraordinary – like ancient island spirits – and the ordinary – like the oft harvested purple yam – in exquisite and intricate detail. In a unique style that is entirely his own, Nona is able to capture small snapshots of life and history in Badu Island.

Dennis Nona, Kubilau Sanal
Dennis Nona, Kubilau Sanal, Linocut with Badu Island clay & ink on artists paper
1200 x 670mm paper, 1310 x 710mm frame , Unframed $1320, Framed $1870

By working with both natural materials and the stories of Badu Island, Nona’s fierce love of his country comes across in all the work he creates. He retells the stories that were made familiar to him as a child, like the wind birds holding up the moon or the tales behind sacred effigies, distilling them to their essence in a perfect form for his audience.

Dennis Nona, Maari Kisaika Ngaidika
Dennis Nona, Maari Kisaika Ngaidika, Mangrove bark juice mix with clay and mosquito tree bark juice & ink on paper, 120 x 125mm image, 285 x 380mm paper, 540 x 470mm frame, Unframed $650, Framed $900

In an intimate look at the artist himself, Nona has also included stories of his own personal journey into the artworks on display, painted in his individual style and portraying both his past and his future to come.

Dennis Nona, Waru ial sak
Dennis Nona, Waru ial sak, Linocut with oil base ink on artists paper 405 x 760mm paper, 465 x 845mm frame
Unframed $720, Framed $1170

Dennis Nona’s exhibition opens on December 8th at 6PM at 29 Hunter Street, Hobart. Join Nona and other guests from Badu Island for the exhibition opening. The artworks will be on display until December 24th and are available for both at the gallery and online. Nona is one of Australia’s most exciting artistic talents and this exhibition is not one to miss.

Dennis Nona, Kisa Paipa Angaik
Dennis Nona, Kisa Paipa Angaik, Linocut print, hand painted 310 x 600mm image, 400 x 760mm paper, 620 x 915mm frame
Unframed $1350, Framed $1740