They hail from one of the toughest settlements in Australia, but this gang isn't pushing CDs about hard-core street life. The Lockhart River Gang is a group of mainly twentysomething Australian aboriginal art stars who are heirs to a 50,000-year-old culture -- and one of the world's oldest continual art practices. Now the group, already praised internationally as some of the "hottest young things around," is being showcased in the aptly titled "'...Hot'* '...Hotter'** '...Hottest'*** : Important New Works from the Lockhart River Gang" exhibit at Booker-Lowe Gallery. The Lockhart River community, located in Australia's northeast coast area of Cape York, is plagued by the social and health problems that are the legacy of Australia's treatment of its indigenous peoples (a scenario not unfamiliar in the United States). While the work of these young artists has influences from their ancient culture, it departs from traditional aboriginal art.
Fiona Omeenyo's pieces use vibrant complimentary colors; a layer of blue overpainting is squeegeed back to reveal radiant orange lines. The linear elements in Omeenyo's work hark back to traditional stories. Meanwhile, Adrian King creates brightly colored figurative images, like a group of people fishing or a kangaroo and an emu in a fanciful landscape. The simplified shapes and flattened spaces of the paintings have a cheery charm that becomes bittersweet, given the Lockhart River context. Shunning figuration, Samantha Hobson makes paintings that drape lush veils of intense color. And Silas Hobson uses saturated color and loose dripping lines that wink at Jackson Pollock. Silas Hobson and Omeenyo appear at the opening reception at 6 p.m. Tuesday, November 9. Through December 3. 4623 Feagan. For information, call 713-880-1541. Free. -- Kelly Klaasmeyer
Under the Covers
Quilting has a lot in common with sex: You can do both in large groups, with just a friend, or all by your lonesome; and, like sex, quilting involves fitting odd-looking bits into other odd-looking bits. But the best similarity is variety. Consider the titillating offerings at the International Quilt Festival. With its classes ("Tools, Tips and Tricks of the Trade"), lectures ("Simple Surfaces") and special exhibits ("Women of Biblical Proportion") -- not to mention miles of beautiful quilts -- this sexy festival could be as wondrous as your first time. Thursday, November 4, through Sunday, November 7. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 713-781-6864 or visit www.quilts.com. $10. -- Anna Ossenfort
Deep in the Art of Texas
Before they were sports teams, oilers, longhorns, cowboys and Indians each played a role in Texan history. This weekend at the San Jacinto Museum of History, "Paleface the Texas Longhorn" and other costumed characters from the past will guide you though 19th-century Texas at the site of the final battle that granted the republic its freedom from Mexico. The museum's Family Day celebrates the recent opening of the exhibit "Texas Originals: Real and Imagined," which chronicles the Lone Star State's history from Native American times to the 20th-century oil boom. Watch out for vaqueros in period dress, Dutch-oven cooking demonstrations, a "Stick Horse Rodeo," live music, a cowboy poet and plenty of "yee-haws" from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, November 6. One Monument Circle, La Porte. For information, call 281-479-6619 or visit www .sanjacinto-museum.org. Free; $3 to $5 to view exhibit. -- Julia Ramey
A Seed of Dignity
An abused Iranian servant reigns in The Quince Seed Potion
In The Quince Seed Potion, Houstonian Morteza Baharloo has created a heroic antihero named Sarveali, a pathetically lovable, endlessly abused bondsman in feudal Iran. As the novel goes, from 1928 to 1981, Sarveali serves the elite class, khans, who aren't unlike plantation owners: wealthy, grand and often merciless in their treatment of servants. Blindly resilient, Sarveali is sexually assaulted, tries to "cure" his homosexual urges, is forced into marriage and ultimately lands in jail and becomes addicted to opium. Yet throughout, he remains passionately loyal to his master. Baharloo's historically accurate setting of Iran as a feudal nation beset by religious extremists comes largely from personal experience: In 1978, at 17, he was forced to flee Iran's political chaos. He signs Potion at 3 p.m. Sunday, November 7, at Borders Bookstore, 9595 Six Pines Drive, The Woodlands, 832-585-0051; and at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 10, at Rouge, 812 Westheimer, 713-520-7955. For information, visit www.mortezabaharloo.com. Free. -- Steven Devadanam
After serving ten years in prison, a man returns to an unfamiliar world. Afraid and alone, he moves into an old motel, where he meets a family whose members complicate his life as a strange love triangle ensues. No, this isn't the latest goofball Fox TV reality show, but the story that unfolds in the Zeki Demirkubuz film Innocence, a selection in the inaugural Turkish Cinema Days festival. The fest is bringing six films by two of the country's hottest new directors -- Demirkubuz and Nuri Bilge Ceylan -- to town. Ceylan made waves at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival when Distant (Uzak), his story about a depressed photographer, won the Jury Grand Prize. Films run through November 20. Brown Auditorium Theater, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information and a schedule, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org. $6. -- Greg Barr
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