Apotheosis of Ned Kelly 1946
A painting and key by Donald Friend.
The exhibition is based on a single painting that draws on social and political comment, identifying an iconic figure, in the person of Ned Kelly, as a deity in the presence of known public figures of the time.
The artist completed a “key” which comprises a series of sketches and written explanations identifying the characters in the painting described by Friend as;
‘…Ned Kelly… some coalminers… a union secretary… General Blamey… an aide de camp…
Phar Lap the racehorse with Colonel de Groot…and people such as Dame Enid Lyons and as many other ratbags as are convenient. I want also to have Ebenezer, J.T. Lang’s stud bull and other historical emblems, including the dove of peace with an atomic bomb in its claws and a brass band. Must have a band – played by politicians, artists and journalists. The picture already looks rather grand and very mad.’1
Contributors with diverse views have written texts responding to the painting and supporting sketches.
- Phillip Adams
- Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Bolton AO, Murdoch University
- David Bromfield
- The Most Reverend Dr P F Carnley AO, the Archbishop of Perth
- Alan Dodge, Director, the Art Gallery of Western Australia
- Professor John Jory, Senior Honorary Research Fellow, Classics and Ancient History, University of Western Australia
- Kate McMillan, Visual Artist
- Professor Margaret Seares AO, Pro ViceChancellor, University of Western Australia
- Terri-ann White, Director, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Western Australia