Ipi (water, rain)
Vinyl-cut print on paper
Teho Ropeyarn is an artist and curator from Injinoo, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland. Born in Mount Isa in 1988, he holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College of Fine Arts (UNSW) in Sydney and is currently based in Cairns, Queensland.
Ropeyarn is descended from the Angkamuthiand Yadhaykana clans from Injinoo on the mainland, Badu, Moa and Murray Island in the Torres Strait; Woppaburrapeople (Great Keppel Island) and Batchullapeople (Fraser Island). His practice is focussed on his father’s people’s heritage. Having lived in Injinoo most of his life, he focuses on his Aboriginal heritage to keep what is remaining, alive.
The narratives in his work explore several traditional and historical stories including significant events, dreaming sites, totems, the four clan groups that make up the Injinoo peoples and ceremonial body designs encompassing spiritual connection to Country and community on both land and sea. With a focus on preserving and documenting permitted stories and knowledge passed down from Elders, Ropeyarn’s visual narratives are recreated through a contemporary lens. The rhythm, patterns, and imagery in his work often utilise elements from body markings derived from his region. Elements of these body markings, which are applied to the abdomen of the subjects, provide symbols that enrich his imagery and connect Ropeyarn’s spirit of the work to his people and Country.
Teho Ropeyarn’sworks have been acquired by prestigious institutions and collections including the National Gallery of Australia and the Queensland Art Gallery I Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). Ropeyarn has been curated into major exhibitions across Australia and abroad: 23rd Biennale of Sydney (2022); Tarnanthi 2021, Art Gallery of South Australia; InkMaster’s 3rd Biennial Print Exhibition, Cairns (2016); 8th International Printmaking Biennial of Douro, Portugal (2016); GOMA-Q, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (2015); Primavera 2012, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2012) and 11th Nationwide Academies of Fine Arts Printmaking Biennial, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, China (2012).
He has also been the recipient of several grants from funding agencies across Australia, and received recognition from significant prizes and awards, nationally and internationally, including: Geelong Acquisitive Print Award (2019); Fremantle Print Award Exhibition, Fremantle Art Centre (2016); National Works on Paper Award, Mornington Peninsular Regional Art (2014); WollotukaAcquisitive Art Prize, University of Newcastle (2012) and two-time finalist in the 29th and 30th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award at the Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory.