Tribute – Arone Meeks

Queensland Museum pays tribute to the recent sad passing of celebrated KuKu Miidiji artist Arone Meeks.

Born in Sydney in 1957 to a KuKu Miidiji mother and Spanish father, Arone Raymond Meeks spent many of the early years of his life reconciling his Aboriginal heritage and searching for the ‘lost pieces’ of himself. 

The linocut print, ‘Laura Dreaming’, which Queensland Museum is proud to have in its collections, is also held in the National Gallery of Australia and is one of a series of prints made in 1989 for exhibitions in Sydney and Paris. Combining Western art practice with Indigenous aesthetics, the work was inspired by Arone’s visit, in 1990, to ancestral rock-art sites at Laura, North Queensland. 

The artwork narrates the name-giving ceremony where he was given the totemic name Arone, meaning ‘Black Crane’. The three barramundi superimposed over the serpent represent, in his words, the ‘growth from boy to man and the vehicle to journey back to the dreaming’. [1]

A leading advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Islanders living with HIV, Arone Meeks shared stories through art of HIV and health promotion, as expressed through the cover artwork for NAIDOC Week 2002, ‘HIV Aids and Us Mob’.

In a statement last week, Anwernekenhe National HIV Alliance (ANA) and Positive Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Network said this: ‘Mr Meeks provided a unique contribution to the HIV sector and pioneered a new way of storytelling. Through art, he shared his story and that of his community by interconnecting aboriginal culture, HIV and health promotion.’

Vale Arone Meeks!


[1] Denholm, M, 1996, ‘Theo Tremblay and Aboriginal Prints’, Print Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 39–52. URL: JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41824923

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