‘Dunno …I Do’ celebrates the creative world of Northern Rivers artist Nhoj. The exhibition of bold, large scale paintings is a direct response to the recent unprecedented series of events experienced on the national and international stage. Made in Nhoj’s Middle Pocket studio, this body of work reflects on the political, environmental, social and humanitarian issues that have confronted our society over the past two-year lockdown. In the not so subtle words of the artist, “It’s a mind fuck”. Nhoj pays tribute to movements like #blacklivesmatter, #climateaction, #marriageequality and other cultural milestones with his signature pop palette of fluorescent oils painted on canvas and covered in resin, sometimes with a splash of glitter. The centrepiece of the show is a huge technicoloured outback piece portraying a white man in an Akubra hat staring out across a climate ravaged landscape with the caption; ‘Dunno’. Beside him is an aboriginal man with the words, ‘I Do’. It’s a statement about indigenous knowledge as a solution to land management in the age of global warming. Another impactful painting depicts the triumphant #metoo advocate Brittany Higgins standing before Canberra’s Parliament House having just knocked out Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Nhoj has spent many years travelling deep into the centre of this land and respects indigenous perspectives. He also reveres local landmarks like Wollumbin (Mt. Warning) and the Billinudgel Hotel, both of which feature in this collection of paintings. “My work is a regurgitation of current emotions inspired by the pressure cooker of lockdown,” says Nhoj (AKA John Hallas) who acted as CEO of Ella Bache for 25 years establishing a unique positioning for the company. He remains Chairman of the board while pursuing his art practice and regenerating landscapes on Bundjalung country.
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