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Mahar Gorospe-Lockie

About the artist

A Person Smiling For The Camera

Philippine-born and Cairns-based, Maharlina (Mahar) Gorospe-Lockie is very much at home in the rainforest and on the coast. She was a Visual Arts major at the prestigious Philippine High School for the Arts before proceeding to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology in the Philippines and, on a Fulbright Scholarship, a Master’s degree in Marine Affairs in the US.

Prior to Mahar’s move to Australia in 2003, her decade long research work in coastal zone management in the Philippines gave her the opportunity to explore human relationships with natural environments, particularly among impoverished fishing communities reliant on mangroves and coral reefs for food and income.

When Mahar and her family moved to Cairns in 2013, she re-focused her artistic practice on themes that had dominated her research career. With strong emotional ties to the tropics, the lush and briny Far North became the artist’s muse for depicting the fragile beauty of coastal environments.

Mahar is a regular participant in group exhibitions and competitions, including Cairns Art Society’s Artists of the North, the Blunt Edge of Portraiture, Flying Arts Alliance’s Queensland Regional Art Awards and The Morris Art Prize. She recently won the Best Mixed Media Award at the 2019 Artists of the North for her work “Summer at Grandma’s #2”.


Summer at Grandma's #3, 2019
Mixed media; acrylic, ink, coloured pencil and canvas pieces on canvas

Over Rocks, 2019
Mixed media; acrylic, ink, coloured pencil and canvas pieces on canvas

Among Barnacles, 2019
Mixed media; acrylic, ink, coloured pencil and canvas pieces on canvas

The arresting beauty of Tropical North Queensland, from the other-worldly seascapes of the Great Barrier Reef to the fecundity of the Daintree Rainforest and the riots of colour that are tropical gardens and fauna, dictate the theme and style of many local artists’ practice.

Maharlina Gorospe-Lockie’s recent works are about this beauty. Her landscapes are in equal measure a product of wonder, playfulness and nostalgia, and of pragmatism, challenge and unease. They are settings for idyllic lifestyles, family holidays and quiet reflection but they are settings, too, that ask questions about how we are to care for our tropical environment.

Rich layers of textured surfaces depict coastal ecosystems in which boardwalks, marinas and other signs of habitation speak to a cultural landscape in which humans are comfortably embedded. Almost but not quite invisible, plastic waste is disquieting not because it destroys the beauty of our tropical landscapes but because it does not. The shimmering waters of Mahar’s work underscore how it has become less and less alarming to more and more people that the careful and unsustainable use of coastal resources increasingly interact.

Located at Level 1