In my work, I still like to question the dominant images of Australian culture, whether it is a painting by Charles Meere or a photograph by Max Dupain in order to expose the stereotypes and offer other ways of seeing ourselves. Identity is formed through our association with place and through the roles and activities played there. In some ways all this is stripped away at the beach yet we are still defined by the colours, caps, togs and even the thongs we choose to wear there.
– ANNE ZAHALKA
A major survey show reflecting on the mythologies of the beach and its community.
From the early and celebrated Bondi: Playground of the Pacific 1989, through to the celebrated Leisureland 1999, a series which documented the central place of leisure in Australian culture, and more recently Homeground! 2010, a series which explores the cultural characteristics of Sydney suburbs, an exhibition that continues to engage with contemporary art and its audience through the cultural lens of the beach.
OF THE PACIFIC
Developed during a short residency, this series of portraits was taken at the Manly Surf Lifesaving Club of individuals and groups from the district who were invited to pose against a backdrop of the beach.
The backdrop was created from an original painting in the Manly Art Gallery & Museum collection by Nancy Gilmore circa 1930’s who based her composition on Georges Seurat’s painting A Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte, [it] it depicts the south end of Manly beach, the site where the club is located. Inspiration and ideas come from a range of historical photographs that dovetail through the work to inform these new portraits. They hint in subtle ways at a changing social landscape, whilst playing with the real and artificial location of Manly Beach.