Joe Ruckli
Rosella Namok, Old Girls Yarning into the Night 2024. UQ Art Museum Window Commission, 2024. Courtesy of the artist and FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane. Photo: Joe Ruckli


Rosella Namok: Old Girls Yarning into the Night 
Until 14 December 2024 

Artist: Rosella Namok.

Rosella Namok, of the Kanthanampu and Aangkum language groups, Eastern Cape York region, is a leading artist of the internationally reclaimed Lockhart River Art Gang. Namok’s window commission Old Girls Yarning into the Night is a dynamic and optical work, which honours the storytelling circles of women, beginning their yarning at sunset and ending when the sun rises.

Namok employs colour as a marker of time passing, with the warm oranges, pinks, and yellows indicating the ending and beginning of a day. Black paint, representing the night-time sky, has been laid over the top of these colours and then carefully scraped away by the artist’s fingers. The act of scraping away with the hands as a method of storytelling pays tribute to the traditional sand stories of ‘The Old Girls’, Elder women in Rosella Namok’s community. This practice of storytelling was learnt by Namok through her late grandmother, who drew her stories in the sand beneath her as she spoke – a process through which image and language become intrinsic to each other. Preferencing using her fingers and hands, over store bought tools, Namok uses a technique inherited from her father, used in ceremonial body painting. In her work, Namok typically uses weather-proof house paints to ensure that the knowledge and stories that she commemorates in her work withstand the material restrictions of time.

Facing towards the facade of UQ’s sandstone building, a symbol of knowledge production, Namok’s Old Girls Yarning into the Night invites you into UQ Art Museum, grounding storytelling as a vital life force and repository.

Images and information for media use are available through the media kit.