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Shaun Edwards

Kowmangen - Catfish, 2005

Acrylic on Linen Canvas Blend

120 x 100cm


Shaun Edwards - Kalk is known to be one of the most profound of Kokoberrin’s many artists. Kalk was born in Mareeba in 1975. He grew up in Cairns and completed schooling and tertiary art studies in Cairns. Kalk, first returned to his homeland in 1992, after living a early life not knowing that while he was a different colour to the other kids, that he actually came from a rich cultural background that still was mostly intact.


He grew up having his traditional grandmother being around and learnt most of his family connections from her and he’s mothers. It was in Normanton, in the Gulf of Caprpentaria, at his grandmothers sisters funeral that he was introduced to his great grand father. It was there that he’s learning would begin. Known as his (Boy) in Kokoberrin customary lore Boy Kenny Jimmy is actually described as his son, boy Kenny grew up in the Kokoberrin homelands and later Kowanyama. Boy Kenny had chosen Kalk to be the carrier of Kokoberrin culture for his people and be the one to be given the bush skills to look after country and speak for it. In the 90’s He secured funding to research and record a number of works, ranging from a language dictionary, land and bush medicines surveys to traditional songs of the Kokoberrin and the Kokoberra.

Despite not growing up as a young person in his country, Kalk continually travelled back to his country, living in and from the land for extended periods. He would draw strength from taking his elders out to his country and thrill over the energy rush that would be created by the excitement of going to country. These days living and working in the city Kalk can only for the mean time recreate these experiences by going back in meditation, while painting and taking time out, until he returns home again. Kalk started painting when he visited he’s in-lore in Mareeba in 1987. She was a practicing artist in Mareeba. She gave him a piece of messmate bark and some paint and this then gave him the building blocks to embark on a career that would last his life.

Shaun Edwards – Kalk was given a bush name by his great grand father, Kenny Jimmy. Kalk is the Kokoberra word for spear. A bush name is given by a Traditional Owner and is used while on country. Kalk's recording of he’s country is in his all of he’s paintings; it can be described as leaving old walking tracks across the canvas composed of white dots. This is derived from (old painting) customs. Painting and craftworks is part of Kalk’s culture and identity. When he paints he finds a space where he can transform into a sense of meditation. While he is a regular and committed painter, a number of paintings he has produced have been done out of country, away from his homeland. He is currently living in Brisbane to further his career in Indigenous Health. He feels that to be able to practice art and culture people must be well and healthy.