Tony Sorby is a descendant of the Kamilaroi people born on Burra Bee Dee Mission outside of Coonabarabran, NSW. Tony was taken from his family as an infant and spent his childhood in various orphanages, foster homes and institutions around the state of NSW.
At the age of 12 years, he discovered his aboriginal roots. In his mid-20's after 24 years of separation he was reunited with his family. At various times, he worked as a wool classer, dug tunnels for the railways, managed a market garden and taught carpentry to indigenous juvenile offenders.
Tony's interest in art was sparked by a Czechoslovakian acquaintance who introduced him to the fine art of marquetry. With the discovery of his Aboriginality came the desire to discover his heritage and in his early 30's Tony began a formal course of study in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture. During this time, he also started to create artworks, experimenting with mixed media that included paints and wood stains and using wood rather than canvas or linen as his medium.
After fire totally destroyed Tony's art business in 1996, he took 4 years to rebuild his love of art. During that time, he rethought the style he would pursue and he now paints entirely on canvas and linen, his subject matter containing traditional as well as contemporary themes.
Tony regularly camps in bushlands and seeks inspiration from the lands, creeks and rivers. When doing so, Tony walks in the footprints of his ancestors and this gives him a real sense of identity and inspiration for his art.
Artwork by Tony Sorby
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