Ken Done (b. Sydney 1940), the artist/designer behind the painting which appears on the front of this men's waistcoat, has a unique place in the history and development of Australian design and popular culture as he developed a unique, rather fresh, child-like yet painterly, graphic style to capture iconic Sydney and Australian flora, fauna and sites, like Sydney Harbour and the Great Barrier Reef. This style appealed enormously to the late 20th century tourist market, and Done retail outlets, where the majority of Done products were sold, became popular shopping destinations for international tourists from the late 1980s onwards.
Done's indisputable contribution to Australian identity is well documented. He was made a member of the Order of Australia for services to art, design and tourism in 1992.
The waistcoat features 'Sydney Night', a painting in which Done has captured Sydney's much celebrated New Year's Eve fireworks over the Sydney Opera House with the city in the background. The waistcoat was acquired as part of a larger Ken Done archive in 2001 following a retrospective exhibition of the artist's work.
Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator, 2001