Lin Onus’ Arafura Swamp (1990)
Lin Onus’ Arafura Swamp was painted in 1990, during the era of Post Modernism. Post Modernism is a widely used term for a progressive art of the 1980’s and 1990’s which involves the challenging of traditions; such as categories of media and the concept of originality. Postmodern artists often utilise art from a previous time to imply new meanings and question past values. There is often no single accepted meaning to art works. Mass media, print and digital media can be used. The work is a contemporary painting which is post modern in style, depicting a landscape using two different styles- traditional Aboriginal rarrk and a highly realistic western style of painting. The work is of the reflection of a landscape on water; a swamp. In the background, there are reflections of palm trees. In the foreground, there are multiple lilies and scattered rectangles of Aboriginal style of painting as a continuation of the landscape behind it painted in a realistic western style. In the midground there are three white lily flowers and some more lily pads. All over the work are scattered leaves floating on top of the water. The water in the work is a gradient fading to dark closer to the foreground. Post Modernism, as stated above, is a widely used term for a progressive art which challenge traditions. The time Lin Onus painted this work was in 1990, after the stolen generation, but before the public apology from the government. The style, in general, is more symbolic rather than literal. It aims to make the audience think about meanings or issues rather than just painting a subject in a conservative way that would just make you recognise it. Onus’ works are unusual or intriguing scenes that make you look beneath or beyond the surface. A vast majority of his works includes scenes or elements of the Australian outback, but with a twist. Another three works that I liked are Garrkman (1995), Guyi Buypuru (1996), and Frogs at Barmah II (1995). As...
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