Born in Alice Springs in 1991, Dion Beasley is an Alywarr artist from the remote community of Owairtilla, also known as Canteen Creek. Dion spent many of his early years living in remote communities in the Barkly region of the Northern Territory before relocating to Tennant Creek.
Being profoundly deaf Dion has experienced many challenges throughout his life but has developed a great passion for drawing, which has served as a means of communication with others. Dion’s delightful depiction of dogs and elements ofcommunity life form the basis of the majority of his drawings.
Dion visits his Grandfather at ‘Mulga Camp’ on the edge of Tennant Creek most days and is fascinated by camp dogs that live in the community. He is a keen observer and a commentator on life at ‘Mulga Camp’. The behaviour and social structure of the camp dogs are enormously entertaining to him and he draws them in a variety of moods and situations.
Dion’s first exhibition titled, A Dog’s Life, was held in the Darwin Entertainment Centre in 2008, as a set of ten screen-printed drawings. This exhibition has travelled through the eastern states of Australia. In 2012 two of Dion’s prints were included in the Good, Strong, Powerful exhibition which toured nationally.
Since this first exhibition Dion’s art has expanded into different fields including etchings, photography and modeling.
Dion’s personal expression focuses on the camp dogs that are central to the life of Aboriginal communities. Dion’s portraits of dogs are clever and captivating. While each has its own distinctive personality, together they form a chronicle of daily life on Aboriginal communities, with its own dramas, tensions and energies.
With the assistance of carer Joie Boulter, Dion has worked with printmakers including Alan Murn in 2008, Leon Stainer, Jacqueline Gribbin and Kevin Banbury (through Northern Editions) in 2010, and Frank Gohier from Red Hand Prints in 2013. Dion has progressed from designs on T-shirts to silkscreen prints and etchings. With these developments comes a broader vision.
Dion’ssubjectmatterhas expanded to include the people and the wider community that play such an important part in his life. And while the camp dogs continue to be a major theme, the range of animals has transformed into a veritable menagerie of exotic wildlife.
Dion’s drawings are the inspiration behind the clothing label “Cheeky Dog”
Ref: Joie Boulter and Dr Sylvia Kleinert