Roy McIvor

b. 1934, Cape Bedford Mission, Qld
d. 2018, Hopevale, Qld

Clan Group:   Binthi
Language:     Guugu Yimithirr

In the community, you’re never short of a problem. I wanted to give that trouble away, and wondered how can I live through this? Life was like captivity and I thought about how can we change it – how can we think differently about our life and take control of it? We had no freedom to live our own life and I wanted to liberate my people through my art. People need to know that Indigenous people can bring about changes in their life themselves.

My work often recalls the feelings I experienced when I first saw the rock art that is all around my Binthi homelands, so my work is like a dance between this traditional imagery and the modern reality, punctuated by a graffiti-like urban motif. Art is precious in life. I kept up with my culture’s traditional style because it reminds me of my old people. It reminds me of their life, they were wonderful artists too. I thought about that, and I thought about my country at McIvor River. I look at the countryside and remember how beautiful it is, and how my old people were up on the mountains, painting beautifully on the rock.

Roy McIvor, a senior Guugu Yimithirr man, made art over a period of more than fifty years. His work, underpinned by the traditional art of his ancestors, explored the contemporary social landscape of community life. Sadly, Roy passed away in 2018 but his beautiful art lives on.

Solo Exhibitions
2014   Rear Visions: Stories from Home, Canopy Art Centre, Cairns (event of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair), Qld
2013   Reimagining Roy McIvor, Cairns Regional Gallery, Qld
2013   Under the Canopy, Canopy Art Centre, Cairns (Cairns Indigenous Art Fair exhibition), Qld
2010   Roy McIvor: Design for Happiness – Bubu Garrbundhirr, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne Vic
2007   Roy McIvor, Retrospective, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns Qld
2005   Playful Dreaming, Nature’s Powerhouse, Cooktown Qld

Group Exhibitions
2020   Sydney Contemporary Presents 2020, Sydney Contemporary Art Fair (online), Sydney, NSW
2020   Undercurrents: First People’s artistic response to Cook, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Qld
2020   Cairns Indigenous Art Fair
(online), Cairns, Qld
2015-19 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns, Qld
2018   Old Stories, New Narratives: Recent Indigenous Prints,
2nd Australian Print Triennial, Mildura, Vic
2018   Printing as Process,
Incinerator Gallery, Moonee Ponds, Vic
2017   ARTNOW FNQ,
Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, Qld
2017   Artmart,
Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, Darwin, NT
2016   National Works on Paper Award
(Finalist), Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Vic
2016   Inkmasters Cairns 3rd Biennial Print Exhibition, Tanks Art Centre, Cairns, Qld
2016   Spirit: Celebrating the Culture, Vision and Skills of Canopy Artists,
Canopy Art Centre, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair event, Cairns, Qld
2016   Here and Now,
Canopy Art Centre, Cairns, Qld
2015   Mapping Memories, Reclaiming Culture: Stories from Far North Qld,
Canopy Art Centre, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair event, Cairns, Qld
2014   International Print Exhibition (Australia & Japan)
, Kyoto, Japan
2011   Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, (represented by Vivien Anderson Gallery), Cairns Qld
2010   Masterwork, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, Vic
2010   Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) Exhibition, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, Qld
2009   Cape York Art Awards, Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival, Laura, Qld
2009   Cooktown Art Society Annual Exhibition, Elizabeth Guzley Gallery, Cooktown
2009   Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) Exhibition, Tanks Art Centre, Cairns, Qld
2009   Hidden Treasures – The Postcard Show, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, Qld
2008   The Director’s Cut, UMI Arts, Cairns Qld
2008   Blak Roots, Kick Arts Contemporary Arts, Cairns, Qld
2008   Hidden Treasures – The Post Card Show, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, Qld
2008   NAIDOC Exhibition, Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns, Qld
2008   Mangal Dabaar: Hope Vale Cultural Centre, Nature’s Powerhouse, Cooktown, Qld
2008   Cooktown Art Society Annual Exhibition, Cooktown, Qld
2007   Flight, Kick Arts Contemporary Arts, Cairns, Qld
2007   Cape York Art Awards, Gunbu Wurrinu, Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival, Qld
2007   Exhibition, Bangu Minjaany Gallery, TNQ TAFE, Cairns, Qld
2007   Hidden Treasures – The Post Card Show, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, Qld
2007   Looking Forward Looking Blak, NAIDOC, Kick Arts, Cairns, Qld
2006   Banguu Minjaany Gallery Exhibition, Bangu Minjaany Gallery, TNQ TAFE, Cairns, Qld
2006   TNQ TAFE Exhibition, Cairns Regional Gallery, Qld
2006   New Flames, Artist in Residence Exhibition, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, Qld
2006   Unreal Shields, Cairns Regional Gallery, Qld
2006   Terre de Reves, Terre des hommes, Arts d’Australie, Musee de la Prehistoire, Bougon, France
2005   Terre de Reves, Terre des hommes, Arts d’Australie, Musee de la Prehistoire d’ille de France,
Nemour, France
2005   Terre de Reves, Terre des hommes, Arts d’Australie, Ambassade d’Australie, Paris, France
2005   Group Show, Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre, Townsville, Qld
2005   NAIDOC Exhibition, Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns, Qld
2005   Cape York Art Exhibition, ‘Nganjawi’ (Bora Ground), Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival, Qld
2005   Exhibition, Quinkan and Regional Cultural Centre, Laura Qld
2005   Mangal Bungal (Clever Hands), Banguu Minjaany Gallery, TNQ TAFE, Cairns Qld
2003   The Post Card Show, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns Qld
2003   Cape York Art Exhibition, Laura Qld
2003   Exhibition, Nature’s Powerhouse, Cooktown Qld
2003   Story Place, Indigenous Cape York and Rainforest Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Qld
2003   Native Title Business, Regional Galleries Association QLD (Travelling Exhibition)
2003   From Cairns to Cape York, 19th Annual Art Exhibition, Banguu Minjaany Gallery, TNQ TAFE, Cairns, Qld
2003   Hope Vale Community Exhibition, Hope Vale Arts and Cultural Centre, Hope Vale, Qld
2003   A Place Far Away, Kingsford Smith Suite, Sydney  International Airport, NSW

Commissions And Projects
2018   Chubb Australia Reconciliation Action Plan, use of screenprint image Buuraay Milbaal (Wet – Water/Tears)
2007   Hope Vale Health Clinic, Anodised Aluminium Screens designs
2006   Hope Vale Police Station Mural, Hope Vale
2003   The River of Life, Cooktown
1998   Milbi Wall, Cooktown

Grants And Awards
2016   Finalist, National Works on Paper Award (work acquired), Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Vic
2007   Arts Queensland Small Grant
2007   Cape York Art Award, (Runner Up)
2006   Climbing Higher, New Works Grant, Australia Council for the Arts
2005   Art Award, Nganjawi (Bora Ground), Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival, Qld
2004   Arts Queensland, Small Grant
2003   Art Award, Spiritual Realm, Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival, Qld

Qualifications + Courses
2006   Contemporary Landscapes, McGregor Summer School
2005   Certificate III in ATSI Visual Art, TNQ TAFE, Cairns
2005   Certificate II Family Wellbeing (Foundations in Counselling)
2004   In and Out of Abstraction, McGregor Summer School
2002   Certificate II in ATSI Visual

Collections
Arts Queensland
Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT
Cairns Regional Gallery, Qld.
Cape York Family Centre, Qld
Coral Expeditions collection, Cairns, Qld
Gold Coast City Gallery, Qld
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Vic.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra ACT
State Library of Qld, Brisbane, Qld
University of Queensland Art Collection, Brisbane QLD
+ many private collections

Selected Bibliography
Boland, A. 2010, River of Talent Flows South, Melbourne Weekly Bayside, 23 Sept 2010
Helmrich, M. (ed) 2011, NEWv2: selected recent acquisitions 2009 – 2011, Uni. of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane QLD
McIvor, R. 2010, Cockatoo: My Life in Cape York, Stories & Art by Roy McIvor, Magabala Books, Broome WA
Moody, S. 2011, New Psychedelia, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane QLD
Bronwyn Watson, 10 August 2013, Roy McIvor’s work shows his spiritual connections to the land, The Australian newspaper
Robertson, Joshua, Guardian Australia, 25 April 2015, Forced Indigenous exile during WWII – I couldn’t forget what happened

Kim, Sharnie, 14 May 2018, Hope Vale artist and elder Roy McIvor’s ‘absolute joy for painting’ remembered at far north Queensland funeral, ABC Far North