Born on Thursday Island in 1954, Diana Crooke’s childhood was far removed from that of her own parents' Melbourne upbringing, where her famous artist father Ray Crooke had established a career as a figurative artist.
Diana’s early years (1961 – 1969) were predominantly spent at the small beachside community of Yorkey’s Knob in Far North Queensland. (Described by artist Percy Tresize, in an unpublished manuscript, as ‘a small backwater full of colourful characters and itinerants engaged spasmodically in such occupations as cane cutting, crocodile shooting, fishing or pearl and trochus shelling’.) The close knit environment of the Yorkey’s Knob community meant the Crooke family regularly participated in the cultural traditions and festivities of the Torres Strait Islanders who also called the little Cairns suburb ‘home’. These years were instrumental in the development of Diana’s passion for the tropics, it’s indigenous peoples and their simplistic lifestyles.
The family’s move to the city late in 1968 saw Diana complete her secondary schooling in Sydney, after which she attended the highly esteemed Shilleto Design School. Her return to North Queensland in 1975 saw her experiment with screenprinting and clothing design before embarking on a career as a professional artist.
Diana Crooke’s first solo exhibition took place at the Upstairs Gallery in Cairns in May 1981. She has continued to exhibit, with resounding success, around the nation including exhibitions in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin and Melbourne. Diana’s work can be found in numerous international collections around the globe.
Diana’s works are largely inspired by the early memories of life at Yorkey’s Knob and her more recent excursions to the Fijian Islands in the south Pacific. Her use of vibrant colours demonstrates the rich palette of life in the tropics while the relaxed subject matter portrays the laiss’er-faire lifestyle characteristic of its native populations.
2011 Gadfly Gallery, Perth, WA
2010 Gadfly Gallery, Perth, WA
2009 Gadfly Gallery, Perth, WA
2002 Cairns Regional Gallery, QLD
2007 Saville Galleries, Sydney
2006 Greenhill Gallery, Perth
2004 Gadfly Gallery, Perth, Western Australia
2003 Port Douglas Gallery of Fine Art, QLD
1999 Group shows, Noosa, Darwin, Adelaide
1990 Gallery Baguette
1989 Framed Gallery, Darwin
1988 Gallery Baguette, with Ray Crooke
1984 Ann Von Bertough Gallery, Newcastle
1982 Upstairs Gallery, Cairns, with Ray Crooke
1981 Holdsworth Gallery, Sydney
1981 Upstairs Gallery, Cairns