Ron McBurnie • Heart shaped Yam at Yaadi Mooli Creek 2019

····· artist statement


This artwork consisting of three related watercolour and pen works, relates to a story Gail Mabo told me about Eddie Mabo planting a number of bush Yam in the river bed of the Yaadi Mooli Creek. After Mabo initially harvested them he forgot about one which grew into a giant yam. When I later asked his Daughter Gail about its shape, she told me it was flat, heart shaped and had grown in amongst the river rocks. He had to cut it out with a cane knife. Eddie then shared parts of the yam to other families in his community. For me the story is a symbol of his caring and generous spirit.

····· Ron McBurnie


····· artist's bio

····· Ronald McBurnie was born in Brisbane, Queensland, and has lived and worked in Townsville for over three decades, becoming one of Australia’s most respected artists. After studying painting and printmaking at the Queensland College of Art, McBurnie moved to Townsville and lectured at the Queensland College of TAFE before it morphed into a University Art School at James Cook University in 1986. He taught at James Cook University for a number of years following that, and completed a Master of Creative Arts in 2000. McBurnie has travelled extensively and has been artist-inresidence at various overseas locations including Minnesota’s Carleton College (2006), Belgium’s Frans Masereel Centrum (2004, 2011) and most recently in Alayrac, France (2009, 2011, 2013, 2016). Similar postings in Australia include Canberra’s ANU (2001 to 2014) as well as Sydney’s National Art School (2010, 2011) and the Tanks Art Centre in Cairns (2014) with the InkMasters group. McBurnie has an extensive exhibition history with more than 30 solo and touring exhibitions and over 100 group exhibitions to his name. He has received numerous awards and grants including the Fremantle Print Prize (1988) and the Australia Council overseas studio grant at the Cite’ International des Artes, Paris, in 1991. His work is featured in many Australian Regional Gallery collections, most major Australian State Galleries and the National Gallery of Australia. McBurnie is represented by Graham Galleries and Editions, Brisbane, and Brenda May Gallery, Sydney.

Ronald McBurnie Heart shaped yam at Wadda Mooli Creek (detail) 2019 Ink and watercolour on paper 147.5 x 113.5cm

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