Queensland’s leading Indigenous arts collective, proppaNOW, was set up in Brisbane in 2003 to give urban-based Aboriginal artists a voice. They present a unique and controversial perspective of black Australia which is sometimes confronting and always thought provoking.
The name proppaNOW best encapsulates the philosophy of what the collective is all about. They approach everything in a considered manner whilst providing a supportive environment for members to explore current social and cultural issues through art. The collective creates art that raises awareness of Aboriginal urban expression that depicts a contemporary story. They reinforce that Aboriginal Australia is a living culture that has evolved over time.
Current members Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Richard Bell, Jennifer Herd, Gordon Hookey, Laurie Nilsen and Megan Cope are all established artists and well respected in their own right. Collectively, they are an Australian success story.
The artists refer to themselves as Aboriginal artists who as a group living in an urban environment, create contemporary art which is ethical and respectful and ‘the right way’ or ‘proper’ way, ‘now’ – hence the name proppaNOW. The proppaNOW artists urban expression questions and critiques ‘white’ definitions of Aboriginal art and culture and seeks to redefine these rules to create a new vision, which is dictated by the artists, on their own terms, offering new perspectives on how we, as a society, define ‘Aboriginal art’. The artists work across a range of media and methods including drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video and installation with strong, punchy, provocative and often challenging images which explore and express a broad range of cultural, political, historical and environmental issues.