Born in 1995, hailing from Longreach Queensland, Ethan-james Kotiau is an emerging contemporary aboriginal artist. His paintings draw on his ancestry with the Gunggari and Iningai tribes of central QLD. Ethan began painting in 2018 after living homeless out of an unregistered van in Brisbane QLD. Seeking inspiration, he visited a desert art exhibition in the city. The work impressed on him how vocal art can be in communicating culture to others. "I learnt from the exhibition that painting can be a powerful platform to communicate and preserve culture, this inspired me to paint, so my culture, whatever remains will survive." Ethan’s art practice is dedicated to forging a style unique to his 2 ancestral tribes.
In his work he thoughtfully uses traditional elements in a contemporary way, to provoke a feeling of nostalgia and optimism. "I love the simplicity in a lot of the traditional aboriginal art from the past. I keep that philosophy in my work. I like to keep it simple, not over complicate it too much. That's who I am as a person, I'm quite shy at times and chill, but also love to have a good time. I think you see that in my paintings, they aren't loud or violent but discreet. However, once you look closer there's more to them than meets the eye." Ethan draws inspiration from his childhood, when his grandmother and elders of the Iningai tribe taught him much about their country, culture, and indigenous ways. Ethan now has a deep sense of purpose to share this knowledge and storytelling with his family and people from his country; in doing so sharing bits of his culture with others abroad, too.
Ethan’s artwork has been shown in exhibitions in Brisbane, Queensland including: “Home” - Bib n Brace Collective, Tenerife, January 2020, “Creative Relief” - Aurecon Group, Brisbane, February 2020, and “Beginnings” - Back Dock Arts, Brisbane, February 2021.
He is also represented by the following galleries:
Kate Owen Gallery (www.kateowengallery.com)
Sketch Collective (sketchcogallery.com.au)
Aboriginal Art Galleries (aboriginalartgalleries.com.au)