born 1934, Cape Bedford Mission, Far North Queensland
died 2018, Hope Vale, Far North Queensland
Clan Group: Binthi
Language: Guugu Yimithi
Roy McIvor, a senior Guugu Yimithirr man made art over a period of over fifty years. His work, underpinned by the traditional art of his ancestors, explored the contemporary social landscape of community life and the beauty of nature.
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.
Further Information – CV