Reko Rennie – More to Aboriginal art than connecting the dots

Posted filed underAustralia, Contemporary Art, Street Art.

“Ask Americans what they know about Australian art and their thoughts often turn to dot paintings, ochre colours and of course the ubiquitous kangaroo,” writes the Sydney Morning Herald. “But Aboriginal artist Reko Rennie aims to challenge that stereotype when he exhibits his work at a prestigious New York art fair this month – the first Australian to be invited.

Rennie, who uses spray paint, stencils, photography, video and sculpture to produce vivid Andy Warhol-influenced works, says he is ”really excited” to have the opportunity to introduce his contemporary work to an international audience at the Scope Art Fair.

“It will be interesting to see their responses,” the Melbourne-born artist says. “There’s this popular romantic notion of what an Aboriginal person should look like – that it’s someone living in a remote community doing dot painting and dancing but it’s not the case.”
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He says the majority of Aboriginal Australians live in urban environments – and his art, which includes a vibrant hot pink kangaroo titled Big Red, aims to reflect that. “Everyone can relate to the kangaroo and internationally it’s a great image … but it also has a powerful relationship to our communities.”

Read on at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Homepage: Reko Rennie

Kamilaroi artist Reko Rennie ran a stencil art-making workshop at the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art Open Weekend 2010.

INFO: Reko Rennie is a Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay/Gummaroi man, born in Melbourne, Australia in 1974.

Through his art, Reko explores what it means to be an urban Aboriginal in contemporary Australian society.

Rennie received no formal artistic training but as a teenager discovered graffiti, which would become an all-consuming passion.

He quickly began producing original art on the streets of Melbourne. Subsequently Rennie has matured into an interrogative and highly innovative artist.

His art and installations continually explore issues of identity, race, law and justice, land rights, stolen generations and other issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in contemporary society.

Drawing inspiration from his Aboriginal heritage, the artist recreates traditional images in a contemporary context using spraypaint and stencils. His work often features the characteristic flora and fauna imagery that represent his community.


Urban Indigenous artist, Reko Rennie talks about the colonial Australian iconography and the Kamilaroi diamond patterning that features in his work.

Photo from Photo by Tom Cogill, University of Virginia Magazine