Ray Crooke is one of Australia’s most revered artists. While he won the Archibald Prize in 1969 for his portrait of writer George Johnston, Crooke was better known for his opalescent depictions of life in Torres Strait, Fiji and neighbouring Pacific Islands. Inspired by Paul Gauguin, he spent many years after serving in the military travelling through this region.
With a masterful command over colour, form and light, Crooke’s paintings are transportative. He is represented across Australian public collections and internationally at the Vatican in Rome. In 2005, the Cairns Regional Gallery held a travelling exhibition of Crooke’s work.