I was born on Thursday Island and my grandfather was a church minister at Old Site. I was going to get married but the man I was going to marry died. I have six kids. Four boys and two girls but one of my girls died so now I only have one girl.
Schooltime I was a good artist and as I grew up I been doing art. I grew up with old ancestors – old grannie boys and old grannie girls at Old Site.
I been turn 9 years old at old site and we move to new site. As I been with my old ancestors they tell me story and draw on sand and charcoal for me
and they tell me, “grannie girl, one day you become artist and you go around the world making name for “yumi”, and I so l never forget that.
I like to play with the colours that blends and that’s how I get the colours from the brightness of the sun, like morning sun, midday sun and afternoon
sunset. I take it there now and put in on my linen and canvas and plus we got water here and when the sun rise, it make reflecƟ on on the saltwater at
sun beach. That’s where I get my inspiration on. We get sunrise everyday in front of beach.
My paintng is about land, about culture, ancestor stories from tribals that passing to generations just like I’m speaking now here in Lockhart. We one
big family. What I want is to pass inspiration on onto my next generation in years to come, because we are all in that same circle and plus we got
different totems to go with thempla moonlight.
I also paint about my emotions. I paint about the bush fires and the waterholes. I paint the lagoons because we like to swim in the lagoons. I also
paint about meeting times and festival times and meeting places. We dress the kids all up and paint them all and we sit together and we yarn around
the fireplace under the moonlight.
I am happy when they buy my painting. They take my story with them as well and they tell to their family. I even tell them when they buy my painting
to be aware when they go camping, hunting and fishing, stay long way from creek and river. I tell them that when they go down the creek, they have to
check rocks to find if anything in there before they go in like crocodile or wild pig.
• July 2017: Government House Queensland Collection, 2 Irene Namok Paintings, Sunset Dreaming on Catalogue No. 17-247,
Mid-Summer on Catalogue No. 17-246