Australia - Land of Colour & Contrast

Materials: gouache, acrylic paint, paper

Technique: cut-paper lettering design, calligraphy, painting, paper collage 

Size: 53 x 60 cm 

Description:  The word Australia written across the continent symbolises European traditions which have been the dominant influences which have shaped Australia’s development for the past 200 years. The letters, although written in English (Australia’s official language), are shaped to resemble boomerangs and the elongated figures of northern aboriginal art. This represents our current attempts to recognise the importance of the original inhabitants of our country, and reconcile our differences.

The patchwork effect of the background represents the diversity of colour and climate in our vast land. The coastal areas of Australia contain lush fertile forests and productive farmlands. All our largest and busiest cities are on the coast. Further inland the country is drier and much more sparsely populated. There are vast inhospitable desert regions in central Australia as well as some spectacular gorges and rock formations. The changing blues of the sea contain splashes of colour to show the abundance of brightly-coloured marine life in the northern tropical waters, the more sombre depths of the temperate seas, and the colder treacherous expanse of the southern oceans.

Some of the patchwork sections contain the words of three well-known Australian poems and songs penned by our early white settlers - “Advance Australia Fair” is our National Anthem, “Waltzing Matilda” is a favourite bush ballad and “My Country” describes the diversity, beauty and climatic extremes of our land  Alternating with these patches of “white” Australia are squares decorated with animals and boomerangs drawn in the manner of aboriginal art, as well as some squares with stencilled hands. The early Australian aborigines had no written culture and the paintings they created in caves, in their bark shelters and on their belongings were their means of communication and artistic expression. The paintings record their legends, taboos and ceremonies, and were drawn with ochre using stick-brushes, or sometimes hands and weapons were used as stencils, over which ochre was spat from the mouth.

This interlocking patchwork recognises the differences between the aborigines and the European settlers, yet echoes the wish of most Australians to harmonise our cultures and traditions to make Australia a truly great unified nation.

Exhibited in “The Spirit of the Pen” in Parliament House in Sydney and printed in the catalogue in 2000.
Displayed in Indooroopilly Library in 2001 and in Corinda Library in 2004.
Displayed in my solo exhibitions “Colourful Language” at Gallery 119 in 2004 and at Gallery 159 in 2007.
Displayed at Scattered Arts in 2008 and in “Undercurrents” at Art Factory Gallery in 2011.




Materials: gouache, acrylic paint, used postage stamps

Technique: cut-paper lettering design, calligraphy, painting, paper collage 

Size: 30 x 37.5 cm

Description: A variation of this theme was created for “Paper Bash for Global Understanding”.  The word ‘Australia’ is written in letters which resemble boomerangs (the throwing sticks of the original aboriginal inhabitants of this ancient land). The background of the Australian map is filled with Australian postage stamps which have images of flowers, animals and birds. Wherever possible, these have been placed in the localities where they are most commonly found. The map is placed on an ocean background of marbled paper (with the word ‘Australia’ written all over it) and stamps featuring marine creatures adorn each corner.

Displayed at the Paper Bash for Global Understanding in The Philippines in 2011.

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