Clinton Naina

1971 | Melbourne

Clinton Naina (formerly Nain) is a painter, dancer, performer and storyteller who obtained a Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) from Melbourne’s VCA in 1994, and a Master of Fine Art (Research) from Sydney’s CoFA in 2003.

Naina came to prominence in the late 90s with a poignant series titled White King, Blak Queen, which used a combination of bleach and bitumen to explore the tainted path of colonisation. His unique combination of materials and potent imagery exposes the impact of British settlement and imposed religious order on his people from the Torres Strait Islands.


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Clinton Naina (Meriam Mir/Ku Ku)

Born 1971, Carlton, Victoria


2001–03 Master of Fine Arts (Research), College of Fine Arts, University of
New South Wales, Sydney

1992–94 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Victorian College of the Arts, The University
of Melbourne

1990–91 Advanced Certificate of the Arts, Northern Metropolitan College of



Stolen Unknown, Gallerysmith, Melbourne


Painting the Town Blak: Clinton Naina, Yarra City Arts, Richmond Town Hall,

Passive Aggressive – Power, Gallerysmith, Melbourne


Passive Aggressive – Warpaint, Art Atrium, Bondi Junction, Sydney


Passive Aggressive – Dream, Art Atrium, Sydney


REACH, Wyndham Art Gallery, Melbourne


NAIN, fortyfive downstairs, Melbourne


Blue Stone, Blak Flowers, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

Mao & I, Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong


Blak Flowers and Tumbleweed, Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne


Re’dress, Grant Pirrie Gallery, Sydney


Resistance to Resilience, Nellie Castan Gallery, Melbourne


Hurdy Gurdy (Wrong Way Around), Sherman Galleries, Sydney


A E I O U, Nellie Castan Gallery, Melbourne


Clinton Nain, Karen Brown Gallery, Darwin

The Dirty Deal Ain’t Clean, Sherman Galleries, Sydney


You Never Said Thank You, 138 Lygon Street, Brunswick, Melbourne


Living Under the Bridge, Sherman Galleries, Sydney

Clinton Nain, Karen Brown Gallery, Darwin


Whitens, Removes Stains, Kills Germs, Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney


White King Blak Queen, Brisbane Powerhouse, Live Arts, Brisbane

The Bleach is Blak, Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide

Heritage Colours, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne


Seven Days Seven Nights of Blak Magic, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney

It Reigns White King, Midsumma, Platform 2, The Thin Line, Melbourne

Big Yellow Cloud, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne Festival, Melbourne


Aboriginal Embassy 1972, 4th National Indigenous Heritage Art Award

Brilliant Blackness, Open Season Gallery, Melbourne

Over My Blak Body, Lavender Nights, Melbourne


Pitched Blak, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney


Nambundah Festival Exhibition, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney



Queer, National Gallery of Victoria

Sydney Contemporary with Gallerysmith, Carriageworks, Sydney


Big Weather, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Mutable Ecologies, RMIT University, curated by Kristen Sharp, Philip
Samartzis and Andrew Tetzlaff, Online Exhibition.


The Koorie Art Show, Koorie Heritage Trust, Yarra Building, Melbourne

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Tanks Art Centre, Cairns, Queensland


Drowning not Waving, Wyndham Art Gallery, Victoria


Colony: Frontier Wars, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne


Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, Sydney

Seeing Voices, Monash University of Arts Collection, Monash University


Sovereignty, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne

The China Dream Exhibition, Beijing Museum of Visual Art, Beijing, China


End of Year Exhibition, Art Atrium, Bondi Junction, Sydney

Bungaree’s Farm, Curated by Djon Mundine (OAM), Cairns Indigenous Art Fair,
Tanks Art Centre, Cairns.

Passive Aggressive, Cairns Cruise Liner, Shed 3, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair,


Show Time, The Art Collection of Arts Centre, Arts Centre, Melbourne.

Blak Wave, Next Wave Festival, Melbourne.

Art Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.


TOGART Contemporary Art Award, Darwin


KIAF (Korean International Art Fair), South Korea

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (Alcaston Gallery), Cairns

Melbourne Art Fair (Alcaston Gallery), Melbourne

Geelong Contemporary Art Prize, Geelong

Alcaston at Depot Gallery, Sydney


Reclaimed: Contemporary Australian Art, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery

Land, Sea and Sky Contempoary Art of the Torres Strait Islands, Queensland
Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)

Pink Sunrise, Boomalli Gallery, Sydney.

Boots : Rule 30, Michael Long Foundation, N.G.V. AFL, Melbourne.

Wattle : Australian Contemporary Art Show, Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong

Show at Heiser Gallery, Fortitude Valley Queensland.

Show at Mossgreen Gallery Toorak Melbourne.

New Acquisitions in Council Arts & Heritage Collection, City of Yarra,
Richmond Town Hall, Melbourne.


Gayme, Counihan Gallery, Brunswick, Victoria.


Just Can’t Get Enough, Linden Gallery St Kilda Centre for Contemporary Arts.


The Coloured Digger Exhibition, ANZAC DAY, Damien Minton Gallery, Sydney.

In a Different Light, Artists Portrayed, Sonia Payes, Monash Gallery of Art,

Hand in Hand, Boomalli Aboriginal Artist Co-Operative Performance Space at
Carriageworks Acon, Aboriginal Project Exhibition for the 2008 Sydney Gay &
Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.

Lives and Times, NGV travelling exhibition, Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo,

Lines In The Sand Botany Bay Stories From 1770, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery
and Arts Centre, Sutherland Shire.

The Rug Project 2008, Designer Rugs/Auction, Alexandria Industrial Estate,

Leading Lights, Ivan Dougherty Gallery UNSW, College of Fine Arts, Sydney


Power and Beauty, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne

Celebrating Aboriginal Rights, curator Rhonda Davis, Macquarie University
Art Gallery, Sydney


Landmarks, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Dancelines: Contemporary Indigenous Art Inspired by Bangarra Dance Theatre,
Arts Centre Melbourne, curated by Marita Smith


Paper Chase, Nellis Castan Gallery, Melbourne

L’art urbain du Pacifique, Saint-Auvent Castle, Limosin, France

Bleak Epiphanies: an exhibition of small black things, Virginia Wilson Art
in association with William Wright Artists’ Projects, Sydney


One Of: Festivus 04, Sherman Galleries, Sydney

Masters of COFA, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Our Place: Indigenous Australia Now, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece

Art & Champagne, Friends of the Art Gallery of New South Wales Research
Library and Archive, Australian Galleries, Sydney (fundraiser)

Fundraising Event, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney


Beneath the Monsoon: Visions North of Capricorn, Artspace, Mackay; Cairns
Regional Gallery, Cairns; Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, QLD

An Indigenous COFA Presence, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts,
University of New South Wales, Sydney


Group Exhibition, Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney

Artful Park, Centennial Parklands, Sydney

Gatherings, Queensland Indigenous Art Promotion Project, Brisbane Convention
and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane

What’s Love Got To Do With It?, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology,

Post Mullet: New Australian Style, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine
Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Queer Family, Midsummer Festival, Span Galleries, Melbourne


Bennet Nain Parr Tillers, Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney


The Art of Place, Old Parliament House, Canberra

Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney

Goin’, Goin’, Gone, fundraising exhibition for lesbian and gay anti-violence
project, Lizard Lounge Arts Space, Sydney

Beyond the Pale: Contemporary Indigenous Art, curator Brenda Croft, 2000
Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, AGSA, Adelaide


We Are Australian, George Adams Gallery, Melbourne


Stolen, World Vision Australia, Walkabout Gallery, Sydney

Walkabout Gallery Exhibition, Paddington Town Hall, Sydney

The Art of Place, Old Parliament House, Canberra

Fiction Factory, Project Space, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology,

Mapping Our Countries, Djamu Gallery, Sydney


Ilan Pasin (This is Our Way): Torres Strait Art, two-year tour of Australia
and the Pacific: Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns; Perc Tucker Regional Gallery,
Townsville; The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne; Tandanya: National
Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane;
Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery, Campbelltown; National Archives of
Australia, Canberra


One Night Only, exhibition of new work by Melbourne artists, Stripp Gallery,

Natives Dancing, Dream Run, Quality Street, Fresh & Blood, A Sydney
Story 1788–1988, Museum of Sydney, Sydney

Black Roots, Boomalli Aboriginal Artists’ Co-op, Sydney

Urban Dreaming Different Meaning, Project Space, Royal Melbourne Institute
of Technology, Melbourne

Pauline Hansen – Co-Existence Australian Artists Against Racism, Hogarth
Galleries, Sydney


I Had a Dream: Australian Art in the 1960s, National Gallery of Victoria,

More than a Piece of Paper, Graduate Centre, The University of Melbourne

1967–1997: 30 Years On, Linden Gallery, Melbourne

Primavera 1997, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney


Bay Watch, Grand Central Gallery, Melbourne

Next Wave Festival Exhibition, Linden Gallery, Melbourne

We Iri-We Homeborn, Grand Central Gallery, Melbourne


Blak City Culture, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne,
three-year national travelling exhibition

New Faces New Directions, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne

Dja Dja Wrung Womin-Je-Ku-Werreneen (William Bit: Welcome to our Homeland),
Bendigo Arts Festival, Bendigo, VIC

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Week, St Francis Church,

Art of the Men, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Melbourne


Blak City Culture, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne

Power of the Land, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne


National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Exhibition, World Trade
Centre, New York

Duality: A World Within a World, Melbourne Fringe Festival


Koori Art Exhibition, Royal Melbourne Show, Melbourne

Koori Arts Exhibition, La Trobe University Art Museum, Melbourne

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Week, 101 Collins Street,
Melbourne, sponsored by Contemporary Australian Visions

Kitch’en Koori, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Melbourne


Fringe Festival Multi-Media Exhibition, Melbourne



A E I O U, performance, Nellie Castan Gallery, Melbourne

Embark on this journey, Acid Reign, The Arts Centre, Melbourne


Where’s Jemima, L’art urbain du Pacifique, Saint-Auvent Castle, Limosin,


You Never Said Thank You!, performance, 138 Lygon Street, Brunswick,

The 4th Victorian Indigenous Playwrights Conference, Ilbigeri Victorian
Indigenous Performing Arts Awards, presented the Aunty Eleanor Harding Memorial
Award, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Centre, Melbourne Museum, Melbourne


Traditional Owners’ Ceremony, choreography and performance, Melbourne Town
Hall, Melbourne

Bunjil: Creation Story, choreography, Moomba Waterfest Parade, Melbourne


Bunjil: Creation Story, choreography and performance, Melbourne Festival
Opening, Melbourne


Respect for Our Elders, Project Space, Royal Melbourne Institute of
Technology, Melbourne

Adornment, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne

Which Way Cabaret, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Melbourne

Big Yellow Cloud, performance, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne

White King Blak Queen, installation and performance, Melbourne

Torres Strait Dance, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Koori Day,


Sister Romper: Giving Indigenous Women a Voice, Collingwood Town Hall

Mayer’s Community Day: A Festival of Unity and Reconciliation, Gasworks
Park, City of Port Phillip,

Mommy Dearest, Prince of Wales Hotel, Melbourne

Black Featherette, Stick With Wik (fundraiser)


We Iri, We Homeborn, We Just Too Deadly, Grand Central, Melbourne

St Kilda Writers’ Festival, Gershwin Room, Esplanade Hotel, Melbourne

Up the Ladder, Melbourne Workers’ Theatre, toured Sydney and regional

I Can’t Sleep At Night, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney


Nambundah Festival Exhibition, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney


Second World Indigenous Youth Conference, Darwin

Melbourne Fringe Festival, Melbourne

St Kilda Pacific Arts Festival, Melbourne

Seminar, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Hilton Hotel, Melbourne

National Liturgical Music Convention, Melbourne and Kilmore


Bony, TV series, Grundy Television Productions


Melbourne Fringe Festival, Melbourne

The City of Melbourne: ATSI Cross Cultural Workshop, The University of
Melbourne, Melbourne

Ilbijerri ATSI Theatre Cooperative, Melbourne



‘Artist Talk: The 8th Koorie Art Show’, Koorie Heritage Trust,
online video,


‘An interview with Clinton Naina, Big Weather’, National Gallery of
Victoria, online video,


Art in Reverse, ABC TV (3 June)


Sunday Arts, Panel Discussion, ABC TV

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, TEN Network,

Art in Reverse, Ovation Channel


George Negus Tonight, ABC TV (6 October)


The Arts Show, SBS TV


Tiddas Special, ABC TV

Bent TV, ‘Queer Family’, Channel 31

Coming Out, discussion panel (10 May)

Songlines, ABC TV, special on ‘Festival of the Dreaming’ (8 October)

I Can’t Sleep at Night, performance

Pitched Black, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney


Bony, TV series, Grundy’s



‘Clinton Naina, Winner of the 2020 Koorie Art Show’, NITV Radio


The Deep End, Radio National

Aboriginal, SBS Radio

Arts Up, 3k en D, France

Exhibit A, Radio National with Julie Copland

Survival Show, Koori 3CR


Ursula Raymond interview, ABC Radio Darwin


Not Another Koori Show, 3CR


‘Reconciliation: What is it? Should Queers Say Sorry?’, Feast 2000: Adelaide
Lesbian and Gay Festival’, live debate, Adelaide Radio

Art to Lunch, Radio 4ZZZ, Brisbane


Arts Yarn Up, Sydney


2SER radio, Sydney


Te-Up-Oko-Ote-Ika, Maori Radio

Altered States, 3RRR


Not Another Koori Show, 3CR


Aboriginal Program, 3EA


2006 Landmarks, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (with Judith Ryan)

2006 Erub has a bitumen road now, Landmarks, National Gallery of Victoria,

2006 Exploring Landmarks, Women’s Association one-day seminar, National
Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

2006 Embark on this journey / into acid reign, Dancelines: Contemporary
Indigenous Art inspired by Bangarra Dance Theatre, The Arts Centre, Melbourne

2005 L’Art Urbain Du Pacifique, Saint-Auvent, France

2003 Living Under the Bridge, Sherman Galleries, Sydney

2003 Whitens, Removes Stains, Kills Germs, Karen Brown Gallery, Darwin

2000 The Bleach is Blak, Flinders Art Museum, Adelaide

2000 White King Blak Queen and Beyond the Pale, Art Gallery of South
Australia, Adelaide

1999 Visual Arts Department, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Northern
Melbourne Institute of TAFE, Melbourne

1998 Koori Art and Design, Department of Visual Arts, Royal Melbourne
Institute of Technology, Melbourne

1998 Footscray Campus, Victoria University, Melbourne

1998 Ilan Pasin (This is Our Way): Torres Strait Art, Cairns Regional
Gallery, Cairns

1997 Linden Gallery, Melbourne


National Gallery of Australia; Art Gallery of South Australia; National
Gallery of Victoria; Queensland Art Gallery; The Australian Museum; Flinders
University Art Museum; Northern Metropolitan College of TAFE; The University of
Melbourne; Victorian College of the Arts; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Council; Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation; City of Port Phillip; Wesfarmers;
BHP Billiton; DNA Design Nation Pty Ltd; Arthur and Susie Roe Collection; HRA
& Associates; Rio Tinto; Jean-Marie Tijbou Cultural Centre, Noumea



Frost, Andrew, ‘New Directions, Clinton Nain’, Art Collector, iss. 87,
Jan-Mar, pp. 86-87


Crawford, Ashley, ‘Clinton Nain: Hoping hard in the city’, Art Collector,
Issue 57, July -Sep


Messer, Barbara, ‘Blak Queen’, Media Arts, Alumni Edition, COFA, issue 19,
2007, pp. 8–9

Croft, Brenda, Hurdy Gurdy (Wrong Way Around), catalogue essay, Sherman
Galleries, Sydney


Nelson, Robert, ‘Clinton Nain: a e I o u’,
, 31 May

Murray-Cree, Laura (ed.), Twenty: Sherman Galleries 1986–2006, Craftsman
House, Melbourne

O’Brien, Mary, ‘Indigenous visual artists step up to Bangarra’, Metro News
and Reviews, The Age, 8 Feb

Usher, Robin, ‘Dreamtime art takes center stage in landmark show’, Age , 1

Cusworth, Fran, ‘Truth at road’s end’, Herald Sun, 14 February

‘From out of the earth’, The Critics, Age, 11 February

‘Survival on invasion day tribute to 218 years of ongoing indigenous
dissent’, National Indigenous Times, 26 January


McDonald, John, Surface Tension, The Art Life,
, June

Gould, Ian, ‘Secrets and lives’, interview with Clinton Nain, Sydney Star
Observer, 2 June, p. 7

Comte, Samantha, ‘A Short Ride in a Fast Machine: A Recent History of
Contemporary Art’, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces and Black Ink, Melbourne

Bleak Epiphanies: An Exhibition of Small Black Things Metro, Sydney Morning

‘Erub has a bitumen road now’, Art Up to the Eyeballs, Reader Magazine,

‘First person, secrets and lives, Clinton Nain uses art to tell stories of
sexuality, cultural identity and hidden oppression’, Sydney Star Observer , 2


Mendelssohn, Joanna, ‘Clinton Nain: Living under the bridge’, Artlink, vol.
24, no. 1, March, pp. 85–6

Frost, Andrew, ‘50 of Australia’s most collectable artists’, Art Collector,
issue 27, Jan–Mar


Simmonds, Diana, ‘Must see’, Sunday Telegraph, 23 November, p. 126

Clinton Nain, Beyond Place: a journey in broken English, Master of Fine
Arts, Research, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney


Frost, Andrew, ‘Telling stories’, Australian Style, no. 57, Nov

Kidd, Courtney, ‘The pain in stain is the message from Nain’, Sydney Morning
Herald, 2 May


Walker, Wendy, ‘Speaking of reconciliation’, Visual Arts, The Advertiser
Feast, November

Vaughan, Plaz, ‘Showing the way: Queer family’, Herald Sun: Front Row,

‘Yarra’s heritage colours’ City of Yarra News, vol. 6, no. 6, December

Kappinski, Barbara, ‘Blak out, Blue’, no. 30, December (photography: Paul

Neale, Margo & Kleinert, Sylvia (eds), The Oxford Companion to
Aboriginal Art and Culture, Oxford University Press, Melbourne

‘Feast Festival preview’, DNA, October

Mellor, Doreen, ‘Beyond the Pale’, review, Art & Australia, vol. 38, no.
1, Sep–Nov

Fortescue, Elizabeth, ‘Dolls date with destiny’, Daily Telegraph, 28 July

Huppatz, D. J., ‘Beyond the Pale’, Like

Lee, G, ‘Clinton Nain’, in Croft, Brenda (ed.), Beyond the Pale, Adelaide
Bicentennial of Australian Art, Adelaide

Cochrane, Peter, ‘Festival of hope amid anger and reminders of a sorry
past’, Sydney Morning Herald

Fitzgerald, Michael, ‘Renewing the country’, Time, 3 April

Litson, Jo, ‘Powersurge boosts culture’, Australian, 28 April

Coslovich, Gabriella, ‘Sista girl powers on’, The Age

Devlin, Rebekeh, ‘An artistic challenge to a pale limitation”, Age, 22 May


Anthony, Rachel, ‘Which way’, Time Out, Melbourne Times

Palz, Vaughan, ‘Nain but the best’, Herald Sun

James, Bruce, ‘Art Festivals King Hit’, Sydney Morning Herald

‘Beyond the Pale’, 13 February


Mosby, Tom with Robinson, B., Ilan Pasin (This Is Our Way): Torres Strait
Art, exhibition catalogue, Cairns, Queensland

O’Toole, Phil, ‘Reviews’, (Playset), Eyeline, no. 35

Harding, Janina, ‘Artist profile’, Yarmbler vol. 4

Moore Hardy, C., Primavera 1997, 18 September

James, Bruce, ‘Going for the jugular’, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 October

‘If you do nothing else this week Black is Black Featherette

Stick with Wik’, MSO Weekly, 9 January

Torres Strait Islanders Step Out, The Arts on Friday, Australian, November

Carter, Melissa, ‘Significant risk emerging artists struggling to be seen’,
Artlink, 8 January

‘Indigenous Mardi Gras (Black Roots)’, Outrage, no. 177, February


Olympic Arts Festival (special issue), vol. 35

Cochrane, Susan, ‘An outsiders view: Torres Strait Islander art’, Art &
Australia, vol. 35, no. 1, spring, illus., p. 121

Johnson, Anna, ‘Young at art’, Good Weekend, Age, 26 April

‘Celebrating the new and the deadly’, Southern Cross, 25 June

‘Artists boldly show the way to reconciliation’, Melbourne Review, 25 June

‘The complete guide to the visual arts program’, TIME, 9 August

‘I can’t sleep at night’, Earth Strokes Festival of the Dreaming, Hogarth
Galleries, 6 October

‘Primavera exhibition’, Australian Jewish News, Sydney Edition, 5 September

‘Field of dreams’, photograph by Robert Pearce, Sydney Morning Herald, 12


‘No more tears’, Melbourne Star Observer, 26 January


Benjamin, Roger, ‘BLAKNESS – Blak city culture’, Art & Text, College of
Fine Arts, UNSW, Sydney

Marsh, Anne, ‘Melbourne Fringe Festival program’, Melbourne Fringe Festival


Williamson C. & Perkins, Hetti, Blakness: Black city culture, exhibition
catalogue, Melbourne

‘Landmark art shows’, Melbourne Star Observer, 14 October

‘Artist’s cultural canvas’, Malvern-Prahran Leader, 19 October

Marsh, Anne, ‘Making light of a dark world’, Herald Sun, 19 October

‘Tales of the city’, Good Weekend, Age, 29 October


‘Recognition: The way forward’, Australian Catholic Social Justice
Committee, (A.C.S.J.C.)


Flanagan, ‘Here and there, the Impulse of Brett Whiteley’, Age, 18 July