Born at the Presbyterian Mission at Aurukun in 1960, Garry Namponan is the eldest of eight children born to Angus Namponan and Chrissie Peemuggina. Garry’s father, Angus Namponan was a prominent Wik carver in Aurukun and most of his sons have followed in his footsteps. Garry’s brothers, Lex, Leigh, Bevan and Leo are both established and emerging carvers and form an important core of artists within the Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.
Garry Namponan works across a range of media including sculpture, printmaking, book illustration and painting. Garry studied art at the Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, Northern Territory in the early 1980s and is one of the leading carvers at the Wik and Kugu Arts Centre at Aurukun. Since 2002, his work has been included in major national and international exhibitions and is represented in both public and private collections.
Garry is known as a master carver, and is especially famous for his beautiful Ku (dogs). His sculptures of camp dogs, dingo’s and owls are representations of figures of potent religious and spiritual significance. Garry has an impressive exhibition history of over 17 years including Queensland Gallery of Modern Art and the Ian Potter Museum of Art, and his carvings were recently featured at Sydney Contemporary.
In the past year, Garry has been exploring painting and exhibited his first ever large-scale painting at Cairns Indigenous Art Fair in 2019. Garry’s most recent exhibition was in December 2019, part of a group show titled Shiver - exploring the themes of the Indigenous Shark, at Onespace Gallery in Brisbane.
Main image credit: Garry Namponan at work. Image: Wik and Kugu Arts