Gestation of the Republican Constitution Vols. 6-12 – 2006

Oil on canvas. H60 x W90 cm

Oil on canvas
130 x 75 cm

In this image I have located a volume of the fictional new yet-to-materialise constitution of a Australian Republic beneath a car tyre swan (the gestator) and resting on a hollow galvanised iron classical column.

The car tyre swan is a popular almost iconic statement found in gardens across rural Australia, usually used as plant containers. It is a tongue-in-cheek symbol of an Australian renaissance; our ability to utilise and recycle past their use by date objects and ideas, a somewhat frivolous and superfluous gesture! The native black swan is the adopted symbol for Western Australia and is associated with the State. It is in this statal context that I propose the swan as the appropriate national gestator.

The galvanised iron column too is loaded with significant symbolism. Australia has imported our culture from Western Europe, but whereas the original columns of Europe are made of durable carved rock and marble, ours is an ersatz version; made of cheap [colonial] materials and are hollow! This column is the Australian rock upon which the foundations of our new republic will rest.

This is one of a series of similar paintings which questions our maturity as a nation.