The King of Colour, Ken Done is coming to Rockhampton Art Gallery!

Published on 10 October 2016

The King of Colour, Ken Done is coming to Rockhampton Art Gallery!.jpg

If you were compiling an iconic, visual mixed tape of the heady halcyon days of Australia in the eighties and nineties, Ken Done’s designs be they t-shirt, duffle bag or doona would be on high rotation.

Synonymous with Sydney Harbour and an idyllic, Australian culture of sun and fun, Ken Done is globally renowned for his bright, breezy and bold designs.

But while Done’s signature designs are embedded as a familiar memory in the mind of many, his ongoing series of reef paintings and drawings may not be quite as well known.

It is these works that form an exhibition at the Rockhampton Art Gallery from 15 October.

“Given the Rockhampton Art Gallery’s proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, the Gallery wanted to create an exhibition around Done’s reef experiences and introduce an element of his art practice that not everyone may be entirely aware of,” Cr Rose Swadling, Chair of Rockhampton Regional Council’s Community Services Committee said.

Done has always had a fascination with the world beneath the waves. As a boy he went spearfishing at Balmoral in Sydney, and as an adult has snorkelled and dived at some of the world’s most renowned tropical paradises: Fiji, Tahiti, Palau, and of course, the Great Barrier Reef.

“I was about eleven when I first got an underwater mask. Before then I just tried to keep my eyes open for as long as possible to see the fish,” Done said.

“The thrill I felt on those early dives has never left me and it is still one of the great joys in this world (for me) to be snorkelling or diving on a coral reef.”

From sketches of these experiences, Done often then works his colourful marks into larger paintings, showing the unique forms and luminous colours of coral and fish. Done’s paintings allow everyone the opportunity to enter this subterranean paradise without requiring a dive certificate or even getting wet.


Ken Done: The Reef
runs from 15 October – 27 November 2016 at Rockhampton Art Gallery. Admission is free. For more information visit : www.rockhamptonartgallery.com.au 

Rockhampton Art Gallery is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.