HomeArticlesArts & CultureHistory, Culture and Dreaming with Indigenous Gold Coast Artist, Rick Roser
Rick Roser. Image credit: Maleika Halpin

History, Culture and Dreaming with Indigenous Gold Coast Artist, Rick Roser

Kobi Facto | October 2020

“I’ve often thought of myself as being timeless, especially out in the bush and especially here,” says Rick Roser, Indigenous Gold Coast Artist.

Aboriginal artist, storyteller and educator, Rick Roser has traversed Australia and the globe with his work.

From prolific performances at some of Australia’s premier folk festivals, to extensive independent touring workshops throughout Queensland schools and travelling the world as an Indigenous Culture Presenter, Rick’s diverse and colourful career has spanned more than 20 years.

Having moved from what he describes as the ‘Boondocks’ to the Gold Coast just 12 years ago, Rick cites his performance at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as a career highlight.

“SAND SONG was a 4-day show written by Walbira Murray and directed by Elena Vereker with Insite Arts and I was very lucky to be involved – in fact, I was the show,” laughs Rick.

“I told the Goomeroi Dreaming story of the first time the sun’s light shone on Australia, while the dancers performed the story around five towering ancestor poles.

“I specialise in ochre-spitting, which I did on stencil art to depict the imagery of the story. And then I performed a didgeridoo solo.”

“That experience moved me,” says Rick, “I was pretty proud of that.”

“In fact I thought, if that’s my career, well that’s ok. I’m happy to stop now and concentrate on other artists – inspire other artists and provide my studio space in Burleigh for them to showcase their art.”

Rick describes his work as ‘aesthetic’, he says that he is inspired by the Gold Coast’s natural beauty and the soft curves of the ocean.

“Before I moved to the Gold Coast, I used to live on some of the cheapest land you could buy in Queensland. It was in a rain shadow, dry scraggly bush, isolated, boring, hot, cold…

“I used to make sculptures and art paintings and things like that and take them down to Sydney in my truck and sell them. I’d come back home and it was just depressing – there’d be caterpillars all over the place, ants, you know.

“After a while I thought, I’ve got to get out of here – I’ve got to get somewhere nice!”

Rick visited the Gold Coast in 2008 and said that the feeling instantly captured him.

“I liked it, I thought that’s it, I’m ditching the bush…I expected that down here it would be all glitzy and high-rise, shallow and superficial, you know and I was ready for that – I can be shallow, I can be superficial…

“I moved here and it wasn’t like that at all – not really,” Rick explains.

Rick’s latest artistic project will feature as part of Bleach* Festival 2020 with an installation of ‘Dreamtime Travellers’ at Justin’s Park in Burleigh Heads.

“Nearly every piece of Indigenous art is personal to that Indigenous person, in that it’s part of their story, part of their history, their inspiration, dreams or even their spirituality.

“The Dreamtime Travellers are part of my history in many ways – I’ve often thought of myself as being timeless, especially out in the bush and especially here – I feel that timeless element,” Roser explains.

That’s what inspired me about these sculptures, because I see them as Beings – not necessarily spiritual – that exist on the same plane as us.

“If everything exists at the same time and same place in an instant, in the universe, then these figures may well represent figures that were here back in the Dreamtime or may well still be here in 1000 years’ time.”

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