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98/101/10 Artwork, framed design for Australian flag, natural ochre with acrylic binder on paper, Rover 'Joolama' Thomas, Warmun community, Northern Territory, Australia, 1996. Click to enlarge.

Australian flag artwork

Designed
This is one of a group of artworks related to the issue of the Australian Republic and the associated design of a new Australian flag - an issue of great significance for the Australian people. The design forms part of that debate and serves to document the development of, and discussion and debate surrounding, its design. Flag designs must address multitude complex issues to produce an inspirational and enduring symbol for the Australian people. Eventually such a flag will be a singularly …

Summary

Object No.

98/101/10

Object Statement

Artwork, framed design for Australian flag, natural ochre with acrylic binder on paper, Rover 'Joolama' Thomas, Warmun community, Northern Territory, Australia, 1996

Physical Description

Artwork for Australian flag, natural ochre with acrylic binder on paper, with brown ochre coloured background on which a large circle with six radiating roundels is placed off centre. The large circle is light brown and the roundels white. This formation and the entire work is bordered with a line of white dots. The design is distinctively Aboriginal in choice of themes, materials and colour palette, but the large circle and its six roundels are also reminiscent of the Southern Cross constellation. The precise medium is natural ochre with acrylic binder on paper. The design on the reverse of the work is of interest and represents Thomas's initial thoughts on the subject of the design for an Australian flag.

Marks

The front of the work remains unmarked
paper label back of frame u.r. "57. Rover Thomas / Courtesy Utopia ArtSydney / $4,000 / SOLD"
paper label back of frame u.l. "ART MUSEUM / ARMIDALE / EXHIBITION: / FLAGGING THE REPUBLIC /TOUR MANAGER: / NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL ART MUSEUM / DATE: 1996-1997 / CAT NO. 57 / ARTIST: ROVER THOMAS / TITLE: / OWNER:"

Dimensions

Height

453 mm

Width

886 mm

Production

Notes

Rover Thomas (1926-1998) was born in the Kintore Ranges in the Northern Territory. His art is preoccupied with the painting of dreamings of areas within the territory. Using only ochres he has developed a colour-field style in which large areas of the canvas are outlined and taken up by a single colour, quite different to the dot style of the Central Desert artists. With work of this type he was one of three artists who represented Australia in the 1990 Venice Biennale.

The work acquired is distinctive of his style expressing bold forms, an unfaltering line and an interplay between broad areas of natural colour. In a written statement about the work, Utopia Art Sydney (the Gallery representing Thomas) write, 'At the focus is a large circle which represents the Warmun Community, where he lives. The other roundels that radiate from the central space are Neighbouring communities, Port Keats, Kununurra and Darwin are three such communities ...'. Mention is also made that the design is evocative of the Southern Cross constellation. The design on the reverse of the work is of interest; Utopia Art Sydney write that this design was Thomas's original but then describe it as 'inappropriate as a flag and also inappropriate for general display'. (Please refer to artist's statement on the blue file).

Made specifically by Rover Thomas for the exhibition 'Flagging the Republic' held at the Sherman Galleries in Paddington, Sydney in February 1996.

History

Notes

Acquired from the 'Flagging the Republic' exhibition displayed at the Sherman Galleries, Sydney.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1998

Acquisition Date

6 August 1998

Cite this Object

Harvard

Australian flag artwork 2022, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 September 2022, <https://ma.as/160647>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/160647 |title=Australian flag artwork |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=25 September 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}