Photographic tableau highlights historical injustices

Nature Morte (Agriculture) and Nature Morte (Blackbird), from Australian photographic artist Michael Cook’s ‘Natures Mortes’ series, draw on visual strategies affiliated with the still‑life genre — particularly the memento mori, a visual reminder of the inevitability of death — to highlight the devastating impact of colonisation from an Indigenous point of view. Michael Cook ‘Nature…

The Mystery behind William Dobell’s ‘The Cypriot’

In 1940, William Dobell (1899-1970) returned to Australia after ten years in Europe. He completed The Cypriot (illustrated) that same year, a portrait of his friend Aegus Gabrielides. Was it the first major painting he produced, and what is the mystery behind the work? RELATED: The life and art of William Dobell DELVE DEEPER: The…

Jeffrey Smart: The traveller

Jeffrey Smart (1921-2013) is one of Australia’s most recognised painters, but not because he paints identifiably Australian subjects or locations. Smart has a consistent fascination with the present day, and has always found the contemporary world beautiful, whatever his locations. The scenes that Smart chooses are usually mundane — parks, bus stops, expressways, petrol-stations, traffic…

Family jewels tell two Queensland stories

The Gallery recently acquired a fine piece of late-nineteenth-century, Queensland-made jewellery — the D Mackay and Co. Gold and topaz bangle c.1900 (illustrated). Its making and provenance builds on an earlier Queensland piece already in the Collection — the Hogarth, Erichsen & Co. Archer mourning brooch c.1860 (illustrated). Together, these beautiful objects tell the historic…

A tale of two blooms

During springtime, Brisbane is awash with colour — the lavender of the jacaranda mix with an array of red and yellow flowers. Spring is also when you can see the vermilion blooms of the Butea at its peak, due to its fiery appearance, it’s given the name ‘Flame of the Forest’. R (Richard) Godfrey Rivers…