Reuben Oates lives at Mountain River, south of Hobart in Tasmania. His father, Leigh Oates, provided Reuben the inspiration to commence painting in 2004. He is the youngest Aboriginal artist to be represented at Art Mob. Reuben comes from the Dolly Dalrymple line which is Mannalargenna’s granddaughter.
Reuben finds inspiration in the land and nature around him.
He uses animals or references to animals to tell stories about his life journey.
As he tells his stories using vibrant visual representations of connection and travel, he encourages the audience to build their own sentimental and unique story using the scene he has created.
At a young age, as Reuben was developing his style, he was purely painting what he saw in nature and telling the story of ‘seeing’. Now as he grows and his style matures, Reuben feels himself telling more of a story of ‘connection’; where he comes from and where he is headed!
In 2016 and 2017, at 23, Reuben is sharing and telling his story of connection to students in Southern Tasmania.
Reuben says ‘It feels as if I’m living a dream to some degree. Over the past few years I’ve wanted to become a motivational speaker, and feel I have a achieved this using my art as the foreground. Telling my story of culture, spirituality and mental health all through my art’. Reuben works within schools painting large murals, called connection and they all incorporate a river theme.
His concept is connection and his aim is to encourage students of all ages to pursue their love and passion, whether it be in art or any other field.
…I also do rock painting with the students. I give the students my story and back ground in a nut shell through a slideshow presentation. After this we move on to creating a pattern and a story on a rock in a contemporary dot painting style.