Blog 2- An Art Show

Which artwork did you find most meaningful and/or enjoyable? Give a verbal description of the work (include a visual image if you can). 

What is it about art that makes a dull room seem so lively? How is it, that simple colours and patterns can captivate our minds and make us weep or grin?

Is it because art is able to express the emotions that we aren’t able to articulate through words? Or because art allows us to truly accept ourselves, without judgement or comparison?

Journeying to the Art Gallery of NSW was an enjoyable and engrossing experience. With so many intriguing artworks on display, it was hard to pinpoint just one to focus on. However, the painting by Trevor Nickolls titled “The Garden of Eden” was an artwork that truly captivated me.

Dubbed “the father of urban Aboriginal art”, Trevor Nickolls explores points of intersection between the traditional Indigenous ways of living and contemporary urban existence.

“The Garden of Eden” articulates the idea of a utopian world where man and woman, black and white, animals and plants all live together harmoniously. The idea that leaped into my mind when studying this painting was that Australia appeared to be this new Eden. It is a heavenly place where everyone and everything was accepted. This can be seen through the unification of a black man and a white woman as they hold hands and through the integration of Christian and Indigenous culture. The love heart in between the couple holds within it the Holy Spirit, a symbol of Christianity which is placed inside the shape of Australia, almost like an acceptance of the Christian culture into this new country. However, also pictured is an array of native Australian animals including a serpent which can be linked back to Indigenous culture and to the Dreamtime.  Stories told by Indigenous Australians such as The Rainbow Serpent helped frame an understating of how the world was created.

I interpret this as an amalgamation of both cultures. The cultures are not trying to juxtapose one another but rather appear to be integrating. The white woman is also pictured naked rather than in European styled clothing, perhaps alluding to the idea that she is adapting to Indigenous ways of living and being.

The use of earthy colours like red, brown and yellow demonstrate the traditional style of Aboriginal art along with the use of dots and inclusion of the waterholes.

Trevor Nickoll’s art is an innovative and unique style of art that incorporates some stylistic elements of traditional Aboriginal art such as dot painting and rarrk, and intertwines it with other styles of art such as the use of vibrant colours like that of the sky in “The Garden of Eden”

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4 thoughts on “Blog 2- An Art Show

  1. Such a powerful introduction. In my opinion, rhetorical questions are one of the most captivating and influential literary techniques. In this blog, you have used a range of rhetorical questions to encourage the audience to think outside of the box and analysis their own meaning of art and how it makes them feel.

    Your analysis of Trevor Nickolls’ painting, “The Garden of Eden” was great. You made it clear what the painting was about, pointed out a few techniques the artist had used and explained the use of symbolism of how this artwork shows Australia as the new Eden.

    I like how you’ve interpreted this artwork as the integration between two cultures.

    It’s refreshing to see this in the midst of oppression and historical loss. When I see this artwork, I see beauty, love and harmony and I love how you’ve picked out the techniques his used and explained how they are a cross between cultures.

    A comment I would of made would be the fact that Eve is painted white and Adam black. Maybe it’s a comment on how Europeans are metaphorically convincing the Indigenous to eat the apple, adapt to their ways unaware that they will soon be casted out.

    Which leads me to my only critique. I would of loved for you to have dug a bit deeper on the social, political and emotional comment it was making. Was it suggesting that evil is at the hands of the European? If Australia is the garden of Eden, wouldn’t that mean both black and white people would be casted out?


  2. This is an outstanding entry on Trevor Nickolls- you speak about the work well and with insight. Good work.
    Editing Needed (and some workshop follow-ups- see Purdue Owl for help:
    * A heavenly place where everyone and everything was accepted. = This is actually grammatically part of the preceding sentence unless you begin this sentence with “It is…. ” [ ]


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