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From the Desert to the Sea
Wulgurukaba & Bindal Country (Townsville)

From the Desert to the Sea

Stephen Oliver

'Stephen's work is a reminder to all of us of the importance of taking care of the environment, and Country, surrounding us.'

Stephen Oliver/Sailor
From the Desert to the Sea

From the Desert to the Sea is an exhibition that celebrates an extraordinary collection of new work from local First Nations artist Stephen Oliver of Waanyi, Kuku Yalanji and Erub Island decent, represented by Big Eye Arts & Cultural Centre. Big Eye is an Indigenous community run art centre located in Gurrumbilbarra Wulgurukaba and Bindal Country (Townsville) that showcases, promotes and preserves Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art, Culture and Stories.

Stephen is a pivotal figure amongst his community and as an emerging artist his work is fresh and new with the use of pastel colours, in the style from the desert Gecko and the sea Octopus and Squid, which is rarely seen in dot art painting from his Waanyi background.

By surveying the oceans and lands traversed from the Torres Strait to mainland Australia, Stephen reflects and connects with his cultural heritage by painting the stories of aquatic lifeforms and land animals. Stephen also does traditional dance, and through his dance tells those stories of the animals he paints. He has been dancing and painting since a child and caries his lineage on with the development of new skills and knowledge of his culture to share through art and dance with community.

From the Desert to the Sea is Stephen reflection of–and ode to–the distinct landscapes of the northern tropics, as he believes we all have a part to play in taking care of the environment, its animals, and the Country surrounding us.

About the Artist

Stephen Oliver/Sailor
Imbale (Butterfly)
Movement in the Sea

Stephen is a local indigenous artist, born in Townsville. Stephen's heritage is of Waanyi, Kuku Yalanji and Torres Strait Islander decent. He is an upcoming artist who now has his work in the Big Eye Arts & Cultural Centre Townsville.

Stephen includes the style from the desert to the sea using the dot art of his Waanyi background, but has also captures the sea with his art of Turtles, Stingray and Jellyfish.

Stephen has been dancing and painting since a child and carries on developing his skills and knowledge of his culture to share. He has done many art dance workshops as far west as Cloncurry (NAIDOC), Hughenden (Dinosaur Festival), Winton (Outback Festival), Charters Towers (Cultural Immersion Program with JCU) and as far south as Proserpine (NAIDOC) and Beaudesert (Arts Ablaze Festival) at the Scenic Rim.

His artwork is a reflection of his surroundings and his belief that we all have a part to play, reminding us of the importance to taking care of the environment and Country.

Event Information

Free Event Wheel Chair Accessible Exhibition Exhibition Opening
Location Details

81-83 Flinders Street Townsville Townsville, QLD, Australia 4810.

Venue Accessibility

This venue’s conditions include:

  • Nearby accessible parking.
  • Nearby accessible public transport (bus station and ferry station).
  • Accessible third-party scooter options throughout CBD city centre (for travel).
  • Nearby street drop-off points.
  • Wheelchair accessibility.
  • An accessible entrance (both ramp and stairs) and no obstructions to the path upon entering.
  • Signage indicating it is a PUNQ program.
  • Venue is close to accessible public bathroom facilities that offer wider doors, adequate floor space to move around in the bathroom, and fixtures designed for comfort including hand railings and low-effort tap handles (in Flinders Square).
  • Quiet spaces available for participants, this location will have ambient or no music playing.
  • Venues have been strategically designed for clear pathways throughout with a focus on minimising clutter.

This is a free and on-going event during the festival.

Opening Hours

Mon - Fri 9am-4:30pm
Sat 9am-3pm
Sun 9:30am-1pm

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COVID Safe Visits

PUNQ asks that visitors adhere to social distancing, visitor logs, and other COVID Safe directives and procedures as directed.

More COVID Information

Acknowlegement of Country

PUNQ respectfully acknowledges the Wulgurukaba of Gurambilbarra and Yunbenun and the surrounding groups of our region; Bindal, Gugu Badhan, Nywaigi, Warrgamay, Bandjin and Gudjal as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather, share and celebrate local creative practice. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first people of Australia. They have never ceded sovereignty and remain strong in their enduring connection to land and Culture.

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North Queensland, Australia | 2024 details coming soon


North Queensland, Australia
2024 details coming soon