South Australian artist Trevor Nickolls has died at the age of 63 after an illness. His death is a great loss to the art world. The Art Gallery of South Australia
would like to honour his significant contribution to the arts through a commemorative event to be held on behalf of his Estate on Saturday 17 November 2012 at 2pm in the Radford Auditorium, Art Gallery of South Australia.
The event will include an address by Art Gallery of South Australia Director, Nick Mitzevich and artist, curator and academic, Brenda L Croft and a visual presentation of Trevor Nickolls work spanning 45 years, by AI Arts Angelika Tyrone.
Born in 1949 in Adelaide, South Australia, Trevor Nickolls leaves a large legacy to the art world. With a unique, inventive style he was a true innovator. He brought together disparate influences from Aboriginal art and Western art thereby creating a union between traditional and non-traditional art a new type of contemporary Aboriginal artist. In 1990 with Rover Thomas he represented Australia at the Venice Biennale, the first Indigenous artists to do so.
Trevor Nickolls is represented in the collections of all of the major art museums and galleries in Australia as well as in collections in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United States of America and Canada.
He has inspired and influenced many artists and was a leader and mentor for artists who followed him; Brenda L Croft has called him the Father of urban Aboriginal Art.
His wish after his death is to establish an art award in his name. The Trevor Nickolls Art Award will be established to help young Indigenous artists who want to study art.
Since the 1970s Trevor Nickolls has created art that is unique in style, incorporating some stylistic elements of traditional Aboriginal art such as dot painting and rarrk, in combination with imagery from diverse sources like comic books and the works of masters in the history of art. The resulting works at times contain complex iconography with multiple layers of meaning and at times combine tragedy with a wicked sense of humour.
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art specialist, Wally Caruana says Trevor participated in a number of seminal international exhibitions, which, history shows, have had a profound effect on the promotion of Indigenous Australian art abroad.
These include exhibitions in England and touring exhibitions in the UK, France and Japan. Aratjara: Art of the First Australians that toured Europe in 1993/94 proved to be a watershed in the appreciation of Indigenous Australian art as a modern art movement worthy of consideration among the major contemporary art traditions of the world.
A major theme for Trevor Nickolls work is Dreamtime to Machinetime, a theme which articulates the cultural transition from the traditional Aboriginal cultural heritage of the Dreamtime into the world of mechanisation and technology.