Artist Domi Doolamai was raised in Northern Queensland and travelled around the state before moving to Toowoomba towards the end of last year. There he has now opened his own gallery, Doolamai Designs in Taylor Street, Toowoomba with his daughter, Cara Green.
The pair are extremely excited to be embarking on this new adventure together. The name Doolamai is a Kalkadoon name meaning ‘thunder’. It was given to Domi when he was young by his grandmother, due to his noisy ‘thunder’ ways as a child. Having indigenous family members living in the Toowoomba region for 30 years, their link to the town is truly strong and beautiful, Green said.
The family says moving to Toowoomba has been the best decision because it is serene, friendly and full of so much history. “My father, Domi, has always considered Toowoomba home in his heart. He wanted to be closer to his family and to have the opportunity to watch his grandchildren grow up,” Green said. The father-daughter duo always had the idea of opening a small gallery and Domi’s move to Toowoomba made that possible for them.
Painting for 27 years now, Doolamai enjoys expressing himself through his artwork, which he can now showcase at his gallery. “Artists who have influenced my father are those indigenous artists who break the normal views of indigenous art. My father is revolutionary in his style. He is breaking that traditional style, wanting the viewer of his art to experience the dreaming and the story being told,” Green said. “This may involve spirit faces, especially Baiami, the great spirit or animals, birds or dancers. As well out of respect to his maternal grandmother, a Kalkadoon woman, the butterfly appears in every painting as it is the totem of her people. She is his greatest influence. Her wisdom and direction has created his style of indigenous art.”
Doolamai was never purely an artist; he is also a university graduate. “My father has spent many years building an academic portfolio for himself. From gaining a Bachelor of Social Science Degree (Social Welfare) through James Cook University in North Queensland to majoring in Australian Cultural History. But he has always had a love for his culture and sharing Indigenous art with the world. He has tutored many and taught them techniques in the way of Indigenous art. The biggest and greatest achievement to date has been opening the gallery with myself because it is not just a place to display his artwork, it is a place that everyone can come and experience Aboriginal dreaming and culture together,” Green said.
Each artwork seen at Doolamai Designs has a deeper meaning, as it is accompanied with a traditional story explaining the meaning of its dreamtime story. “My father wants all to enjoy his artworks. In my father’s language ‘Marangu Goochu’ which translates to “Come my friend, you are welcome here”. That is the motto at Doolamai Designs — “Everyone is welcome. We look forward to seeing you. Come and join us on our journey, we will walk together.”
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