Dr George Skeene at “Burning Cane” … Sold

Still time to take in the work of the far norths best portrait artists across all mediums at the Crate 59 “Burning Cane” exhibition in Cairns. Now in its second year the exhibition consists of over 40 works of great portraiture and it’s certain to become an annual firm favourite.

Crate 59 was packed for the “Burning Cane” opening eve event back in September … and I was very happy to have a photographic work on the gallery wall. “George at the Bus Stop” is a pretty straight forward piece of portrait photography … in contrast to many of the innovative and creative painted, drawn and sculptured works … but nevertheless seemed to attract a lot of attention. The framed work was bought by a local art collector (not sure If I can mention his name) and it was nice to see the ‘Red Dot’.

The story of “George at the Bus Stop” is one of those serendipitous twists of fate … a couple of minutes chance encounter that you can read all about George and our meeting in a previous post here.

Dr George Skeene OAM was a gentleman in those few moments … and he is very definitely a scholar (hence the OAM 🙂 ).

If you havn’t been already, “Burning Cane” is still open to viewers for the next couple of weeks but hours are limited to when Billy’s Coffee is open … Monday to Thursday 6am to 12.30, Friday and Saturday 6am to 3pm. Grab yourself a strong dark cuppa and take a look at some great art …

Last day is Thursday October 12th.

Image © Brian Cassey … “George at the Bus Stop” at the “Burning Cane” exhibition – Dr George Skeene OAM

George at the Bus Stop …

Amazing who you may meet walking past a bus stop.

I was doing exactly that on Friday lunch time when I walked past the stop in central Cairns and spotted a fine looking gentleman. Said ‘Hi’ … we exchanged pleasantries and I asked ‘George’ how far away his bus was … the board said eight minutes … and if I may make a quick portrait. George was fine with that so I raced back to my car a block away to grab a decent camera. We were chatting whilst I made a few frames and it turns out that George is, in fact … Dr George Skeene OAM and a Yirrganydji Elder !

Of course, the bus arrived early and George told me his info is on the web … and off he went. Our interaction lasted a very pleasant six or seven minutes …

Fascinating to find Dr George on the web and learn the details of his stellar career.  George grew up in Aboriginal reserves in Cairns and has made it his life’s work to document his Yirrganydji cultural heritage. 

He has traced and catalogued Yirrganydji artefacts that were spirited to Germany in the early 1900’s, written a book “Two Cultures” about the Cairns aboriginal camps, arranged for the return and reburial in Cairns of the remains of a Yirrganydji woman held at the Queensland Museum … and that’s just a start (much more ‘on the web’).

George was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters at James Cook University in 2013 and the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2016.

In retrospect it’s surprising that I hadn’t met George before last Friday … now so pleased I have 🙂

Image of Dr George Skeene OAM by © Brian Cassey

Meeting Dr George Skeene OAM at a bus stop in Cairns - image by Brian Cassey