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William McLintock Onus was a Scottish-Aboriginal Artist of Onus and was born at St. George's Hospital, Kew, Melbourne, Victoria to William Townsend Onus Sr, Yorta Yorta and Mary Kelly, of Scottish parentage. Wikipedia

Lin Onus

             

William McLintock Onus (Lin Onus AM) (4 December 1948 - 24 October 1996[1]) was a Scottish-Aboriginal Artist of Onus and was born at St. George's Hospital, Kew, Melbourne, Victoria to William Townsend Onus Sr, Yorta Yorta and Mary Kelly, of Scottish parentage. Lin Onus was educated in the 1950s and 1960s at Deepdene Primary School and Balwyn High School in Melbourne, Victoria.

Born William McLintock Onus,but known as Lin, his father was political activist and businessman, Bill Onus. Bill Onus became the founder of the Aboriginal Advancement League and the first Aboriginal JP, dying in 1968, a year after the fruits of a long campaign, the referendum giving Aborigines the right to vote.[2]

Onus was largely a self-taught urban artist who, after being expelled from Balwyn High School for fighting,[3] began as a motor mechanic before making artifacts for the tourist market with his father's business, Aboriginal Enterprise Novelties.[4] (Source: Wikipedia)

Lin Onus - Biography

Born William McLintock Onus,but known as Lin, his father was political activist and businessman, Bill Onus. Bill Onus became the founder of the Aboriginal Advancement League and the first Aboriginal JP, dying in 1968, a year after the fruits of a long campaign, the referendum giving Aborigines the right to vote.[2]

Onus was largely a self-taught urban artist who, after being expelled from Balwyn High School for fighting,[3] began as a motor mechanic before making artifacts for the tourist market with his father's business, Aboriginal Enterprise Novelties.[4]

Onus became a successful painter, sculptor and maker of prints. His painting Barmah Forest won Canberra's national Aboriginal Heritage Award in 1994.[5]

The works of Onus often involve symbolism from Aboriginal styles of painting, along with recontextualisation of modern artistic elements. The images in his works include haunting portrayals of the Barmah red gum forests of his father's ancestral country, and the use of rarrk cross-hatching-based based painting style that he learned (and was given permission to use)[6] when visiting the Indigenous communities of Maningrida.

His most famous work, Michael and I are just slipping down to the pub for a minute, has been featured on a postcard, and is a reference to his colleague, artist Michael Eather. The painting is of a dingo riding on the back of a stingray which is meant to symbolise his mother's and father's cultures combining in reconciliation. The image of the wave is borrowed from The Great Wave of Kanagawa (1832), by Japanese printmaker, Katsushika Hokusai.

In 1993 Lin Onus received the award Member of the Order of Australia "for service to the arts as a painter and sculptor and to the promotion of aboriginal artists and their work."[7]

Lin Onus had a heart attack and died at the age of 47. He was buried at the settlement of Cummeragunja on the NSW-Victorian border-line. (Source: Wikipedia)

Read more about Lin Onus here.

Listen to a tribute program about Lin Onus on ABC here.

Listen to Lin Onus' address at the National Press Club, October 1991.

Read more about Lin Onus here.

A couple more biographies.

Fruit Bats

Cara Pinchbeck, curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, introduces Fruit Bats by Lin Onus. Onus was a Yorta Yorta painter, sculptor and activist; his mixed-media sculpture depicts a flock of fibreglass bats hanging on a Hills Hoist clothes line. (Source: The Guardian)

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