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72 Western Australian Museum Accidental Encounters

12 In discussion with George Souris Arts, culture and tourism in New South Wales

74 National Gallery of Australia Garden of the East

14 Queensland Gallery of Modern Art Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth

80 Australian Centre for Contemporary Art Crescendo

20 Art Gallery of New South Wales Yirrkala Drawings

86 Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne Transformations: early bark paintings from Arnhem Land

26 National Gallery of Victoria Art and Urban Context

92 Queensland Museum Network From Dirt to Digital

32 Australian Museum Feathers of the Gods

96 Queensland Museum Network Beyond the Catwalk & Artisans at play in Toowoomba

38 Art Gallery of Western Australia A Private View

98 National Archives of Australia Early Muslim Settlers in Australia

42 Art Gallery of Western Australia William Kentridge: The refusal of time

102 National Archives of Australia A celebration of cycling in Adelaide

44 South Australian Museum Life Before Dinosaurs: The Permian Monsters

104 National Film and Sound Archive Three interviews from the NFSA

50 Sydney Living Museums Suburban Noir

110 Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory A Pioneer of Natural Selection

54 Sydney Living Museums Rose Seidler House: the home of the future

116 Art Gallery of South Australia Order and Chaos

56 National Museum of Australia Stilled Lives

122 Australian National Maritime Museum Uncle Sam and the poster art of World War II

60 National Museum of Australia On Country

126 Australian National Maritime Museum Waves of Migration

62 Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Shaping Tasmania

128 Australian War Memorial Afghanistan: The Australian Story

66 Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Acts of Exposure & Tatts in Tasmania

134 ICONIC Society Social photographs

68 Western Australian Museum Debt of Honour

144 ICON Stockists Where to buy ICON Magazine

8 Iconic Notes News and interviews

Never miss an issue

How to subscribe see page 143


Issue two • January - February 2014

Heart & Soul


ell, what a fabulous reaction we have had for the first issue of ICON. In fact, we have never received such a positive response to the launch of a new publication in the 20 years we have been publishing magazines. Of course, much of the credit must go to our editorial partners who have contributed the magnificent photographs and the in-depth articles written by their expert staff. Collectively, our major art galleries and museums have given ICON Magazine its heart and soul. And with issue two of ICON, once again, we find the breadth and diversity of the artistic and cultural exhibitions on offer around Australia staggering. From classical masterpieces, to the cutting edge of contemporary art, to historic photography and the science of natural history, dare we say, this second issue of ICON is even better than the first. If you enjoyed Tyrannosaurs: Dinosaurs with a difference in Issue One, you will love Life Before Dinosaurs: The Permian Monsters and From Dirt to Digital in this issue; if Old Masters captured your imagination, Yirrkala Drawings and Transformations: early bark paintings from Arnhem Land will not disappoint; and don’t miss the full-length feature on Cai GuoQiang: Falling Back to Earth ... the list of amazing stories goes on and on. Thank you once again to our partner icons for their contributions and to you, our readers, for providing them the incentive and support to create the exhibitions and projects that we love to feature in these pages. Remember, if you are a friend or member of one of our partner icons, you are entitled to a discount when you subscribe to ICON, so never miss an issue and subscribe today. (See how to subscribe information on page 143). We know you will enjoy this beautiful magazine and we look forward to reading your comments and feedback on our social media channels.

Editor Robert Wilson

Creative Director Elizabeth Hawkes

Publication Manager Thomas Biedermann

Subscriptions 1 year (6 issues) $47.50* – 2 years (12 issues) $89* *Prices include GST and postage within Australia Subscribe online at or telephone 02 6260 7177

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Published by ICON Magazine PO Box 4896 Kingston ACT 2604 Tel 02 6260 7177 Fax 02 6260 7199

Robert Wilson EDITOR

Front Cover

LEGAL NOTICE RELATING TO COPYRIGHT, WARRANTIES AND LIABILITIES Capital Magazine Publishing (‘CMP’) owns the copyright in this publication. Except for any fair dealing as permitted by the Copyright Act 1968 (Cwth), no part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written permission of CMP.

South Australian Museum Life Before Dinosaurs: The Permian Monsters

CMP has been careful in preparing this publication, however: it is not able to, and does not warrant that the publication is free from errors and omissions; and it is not able to verify, and has not verified the accuracy of the information and opinions contained or expressed in, or which may be conveyed to readers by any advertisement or other publication content. CMP advises that it accepts all contributed material and advertisements contained in this publication in good faith, and relies on various warranties and permissions provided to it by the persons who contribute material and/or place advertisements. Those warranties and permissions include that neither the material and/or advertisements are misleading, deceptive or defamatory, and that their use, adaptation or publication does not infringe the rights of any third party, or any relevant laws. Further, CMP notifies readers that it does not, nor should it be understood to endorse, adopt, approve or otherwise associate CMP with any representations made in contributions and/or advertisements contained in this publication.

Full story pages 44 - 49 Early Permian Landscape Image by Julius Csotonyi: Gondwana Studios South Australian Museum

CMP makes no representation or warranty as to the qualifications of any contributor or advertiser or persons associated with them, and advises readers that they must rely solely on their own enquiries in relation to such qualifications, and be satisfied from those enquiries that persons with whom they deal as a result of reading any material or advertisement have the necessary licences and professional qualifications relating to the goods and services offered. To the maximum extent permitted by law, CMP excludes all liabilities in contract, tort (including negligence) and/or statute for loss, damage, costs and expenses of any kind to any person arising directly or indirectly from any material or advertisement contained in this publication, whether arising from an error, omission, misrepresentation or any other cause.


On sale 2 March 2014

FRONT COVER STORY - South Australian Museum

Life Before Dinosaurs The Permian Monsters

A summer exhibition for families at the South Australian Museum. 44

Gorgonopsians Csotonyi Image by Julius Csotonyi: Gondwana Studios. | South Australian Museum


Western Australian Museum

James Dexter,WA Museum Creative and Regional Director in front of a photo of his father David Dexter who was a member of the 2/2nd in East Timor. Courtesy Western Australian Museum

A traditional Timorese dagger and sheath given to Commando Ray Aitken by his Creado, Mau Lare, as a parting gift on Betano Beach. Courtesy Western Australian Museum

Commando Ray Aitken’s identity tags. Courtesy Western Australian Museum


he year is 1942 and Japanese Imperialist forces are tearing through the Asia Pacific. In what become some of the darkest days of World War II, Singapore falls, Pearl Harbour and the American fleet are destroyed, and the Australian mainland comes under attack for the very first time when more than 200 Japanese aircraft bomb the city of Darwin with terrifying effect. Much like the attack on Pearl Harbour 10 weeks earlier, the bombing of Darwin wasn’t a pre-cursor to Japanese invasion, but rather a strategic elimination of Allied opposition. The Japanese were planning to invade Timor and destroying Australia’s biggest northern port was intended to cripple our nation’s ability to launch a counter-offensive. It was horribly effective. But unbeknown to most Australians, at this terrible time one small force of diggers was holding fast against the might of the

Japanese onslaught. In a tiny corner of East Timor, the 2/2nd Independent Company – Australia’s first commandos, made up mostly of men from Western Australia – were holding down more than 12,000 Japanese troops. Utilising hit-and-run guerrilla tactics where they’d ambush the Japanese at close quarters with Tommy guns, the Australians created the illusion of a much bigger fighting force. And despite being the Australian unit that had the most direct contact with enemy forces during the war, the 2/2nd lost just 51 men. It was an astonishing feat, and one they could not have achieved without the help of the local Timorese people. Now this littleknown story is being shared through a very poignant exhibition created by the Western Australian Museum. Debt of Honour: Australia’s First Commandos and East Timor tells the story of the Australian and Timorese fighting spirit, of mateship and sacrifice, and the en-


during relationship that the families of those Australian soldiers still have with the people of what is now Timor Leste. Through a collection of more than 140 authentic objects including maps, photographs, video footage, weapons and uniforms, the exhibition shines a light on one of the most compelling stories of Australia’s military past. “This story is not widely known outside those people who were actually involved and it should be, because it is the stuff of which legends are made,”WA Museum Creative and Regional Director James Dexter says. “This story is actually very personal to me as my father, David Dexter, was a lieutenant and commander of one of the 2/2nd platoons and he owes his life – as I owe my existence – to the young Timorese Criados who were the eyes and ears of the Australian troops there. “I grew up listening to stories about the Criados and, in particular, my father’s life with two of them, Malowli and Motacar. I heard so

A Criado and Australian commando Jack Wicks together at the height of the campaign in East Timor in 1942. Image courtesy of 2/2nd Commando Association and the Western Australian Museum

Keith Hayes’ handkerchief. Keith Hayes was the only survivor of a massacre of 14 Australian troops captured on East Timor and executed by the Japanese. He survived being shot and bayoneted through the throat, and was nursed back to health by a local Timorese woman who gave him this handkerchief.The woman was forced to hide the injured Australian solider from the Japanese to care for him and her actions would have meant certain death for her and her entire village, had she been discovered. Courtesy Western Australian Museum

much about them I just assumed they were my elder brothers who had inexplicably been delayed from joining the family.” The Criados were youths mainly aged nine to 15 years who worked side-by side with the Australian troops as they waged their guerrilla campaign against the Japanese. When the Australians went out on patrol, the Criados would go ahead into the villages and sound out if the Japanese had been there. They would reconnoitre, gather food, cook, translate, do the washing and carry the packs. And they were companions to the Australians in a harsh and dangerous environment where no-one was guaranteed of survival. Tragically, the debt of honour referred to in the exhibition title derives as much from the punishment exacted on the Timorese after the Australians withdrew in 1943, as it does the heroic support they provided. More than 40,000 East Timorese were killed by the Japanese following Australia’s with-

drawal. The Australian troops were told at the last minute they would not be able to take the Timorese with them and they left, knowing the fate likely to befall the Criados and their families. James Dexter says this is one part of the story his father had difficulty telling. “When my father spoke about their final farewell on Betano Beach his voice would break as he spoke about Malowli’s face,” James says. “He described it as being illuminated by the bonfires of the surplus supplies the troops had been instructed to burn, and that his eyes were streaming with tears as he pleaded “Tuan fila fali” which means Tuan, come back.” Leaving the Criados behind was devastating to many in the 2/2nd and they made a vow to repay what they considered a debt of honour. Over the next 70 years first the soldiers and then their families made it their mission to do exactly that, raising hundreds


of thousands of dollars to provide food, clothing, shelter, agricultural, educational and a range of other supports through the formation of the 2/2nd Commando Association of Australia. “The destinies of these two nations have been intertwined for much longer than most people realise and the relationship is a complex one,” says James. “It is my hope that by showing this exhibition to as many audiences as possible, in as many regions as possible, that more Australians will come to understand the remarkable relationships that have endured both the rigors of war and the changing face of peace.” Debt of Honour: Australia’s First Commandos and East Timor is being displayed at the WA Museum in KalgoorlieBoulder until February 2, 2014. It will then travel to the Museum’s Albany site where it will open to the public on February 15. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

used as the material for these epic, episodic works that take their cues from theatre, opera and film to immerse audiences in worlds created by artists that are heroic, tragic and sometimes comical,” says Juliana Engberg.

Dorothy Cross, Stalactite, 2010 Courtesy the artist and Kerlin Gallery, Dublin

CRESCENDO – December 20, 2013 – March 2, 2014. Guido van der Werve, Hans Op de Beeck, Ana Torf, Julian Rosefeldt, Rodney Graham, Dorothy Cross and Markus Kahre. Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 111 Sturt St, Southbank. 10am - 5pm including weekends and public holidays Wednesdays open late till 8pm, Monday by appointment . Tel: 03 9697 9999. Admission: Free. Markus Kåhre, Untitled, 2011 courtesy the artist


Guido van der Werve, Nummer veertien, home, 2012 courtesy the artist and Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Guido van der Werve, Nummer veertien, home, 2012 courtesy the artist and Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam


Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne

Transformations: early bark paintings from Arnhem Land The Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne

work on Groote Eylandt. By 1950 Adam had acquired a group of small bark paintings by Anindilyakawa artists, which had been exchanged with Fred Gray, the superintendent of the Umbakumba settlement on Groote Eylandt, for tobacco, food, clothes and tools. Since the establishment of a Qantas refuelling station in 1938, the Anindilyakwa had been recording totemic animals and contemporary narratives, such as hunting scenes and the visitation of Macassan fishermen, on small pieces of bark as part of an economy at Umbakumba that was generated by the interaction with Qantas staff. Some of the works acquired by Adam are now are held in institutions overseas, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The group of 36 Groote Eylandt paintings that remain in the university’s Leonhard Adam Collection of International Culture is the most important group of early Anindilyakwa barks held in a public collection. Transformations includes a selection of Anindilyakwa works that depict Macassan sailing boats, which are displayed alongside two works painted by Wonggu Mununggurr and his son Wuluwirr Mununggurr that also depict Macassan praus, collected by Thomson in 1935. In dramatic contrast to these cultur-

ally important, yet for the most part secular, Anindilyakwa paintings are the large-scale Yolngu barks that embody the deeply sacred madayin minytji.The most powerful designs in Yolngu culture are those that relate to ancestor beings, and these are painted onto the men’s bodies, sacred objects or hollow log coffins within the context of ceremony. The primacy of ancestral designs in Yolngu culture—the deep connections to land and clan responsibilities that they so clearly convey— made them an effective tool for intercultural communication. Particularly striking is the format of the composition, which variously depicts madayin minytji as it would have appeared on the shoulders, torso and thighs of the body.The inclusion of shoulder and leg elements of the design indicates the literalness with which artists translated designs from a ceremonial to an educational context. These striking elements would soon become redundant as artists responded to the bark medium with inventiveness. Compositions were refined to include only the square or rectangular chest section of the body painting, and the large scale of the bark sheet enabled artists to enrich grand narratives by adding figurative elements and mul-


tiple references. The dazzling optical effect of madayin minytji is linked to the enduring power of ancestor beings. Donald Thomson first noted the Yolngu concept of biryun in his 1937 fieldnotes, and anthropologist Professor Howard Morphy has since written about the importance of biryun within Yolngu aesthetics. Designed to affect the senses, repetitive fine line work or rarrk and predominance of white ochre creates a bright shimmer that is evidence of marr or ancestral power. These impressive paintings are strikingly beautiful depictions of the richness of Yolngu culture, and demonstrate artists’ refined skill in using ochre on bark to depict intricate designs. As early evidence of the willingness and desire Yolngu have to communicate to outsiders the systems of knowledge at the core of their culture—a motivation that remains paramount for artists today—these paintings are remarkable historical objects. As works of art, they are the jewels in the crown of an ever-evolving Yolngu painting tradition. Transformations: early bark paintings from Arnhem Land is at the Ian Potter Museum of Art until 23 February 2014.

Mundukul Marawili Mundukul (Snake) story and Yirwarra (Fish Trap) 1942 natural pigments on bark 175 .3 x 103.3 cm The Donald Thomson Collection, the University of Melbourne and Museum Victoria Š Courtesy the artist’s heirs and Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre,Yirrkala


National Archives of Australia


erhaps the best known early Muslims to settle in Australia were the cameleers who, with their teams, played a key role in developing the western goldfields and outback Australia. Mairi Popplewell, from the National Archives’ Brisbane office recently delved into the archival collection and discovered some fascinating aspects of the cameleers’ lives. “In 1901 it was estimated there were between 2000 and 4000 cameleers in Australia,” she said. “The total number who arrived between 1880 and 1920 may have been as high as 6000.” The first camel arrived in Australia in 1840, the only survivor of four shipped from the Canary Islands. In 1860, 24 camels arrived from Pakistan for the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition. As more explorers recognised the benefits of using camels, entrepreneurs established camel studs to meet the need. In 1866 Sir Thomas Elder set up one of the biggest studs at Beltana which operated for more than 50 years and many of the early cameleers ended up working there. “While cameleers were all known as ‘Afghans’ they came from a range of countries including Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey and Persia,” said Mairi. “Facing prejudice, they were restricted to the outskirts of towns, where their settlements became known as Ghan towns.” One of the best-known cameleers was Bejah Dervish, who with 20 camels accompanied Lawrence Wells of the South Australian Survey Department on an expedition through the central deserts of Western Australia in 1896. Wells came to depend on Dervish more and more, especially after he saved Wells’ life. “Wells’ journal shows Bejah was a skilful and devoted camel man, equal to all emergencies and a man of loyalty, courage, enterprise and endurance,” said Mairi. A camel team could consist of up to 70 camels with four Afghans and travel up to 40km a day in desert country. The team would carry up to 20 tons with a large bull alone carrying 600 kg. Marree in South Australia was a famous rest station for camel caravans converging at the railhead from Queensland, New South Wales and Alice Springs. In its heyday the town supported a thriving Afghan community.

Without the Afghans and their camels working in inland Australia, many settlements would have by now ceased to exist.

“Camels were also used to develop the rail link between Port Augusta and Alice Springs which later became known as the Ghan. They carted water into the inland, and performed many other heavy tasks. One photograph even shows a camel train transporting a house in Kalgoorlie in 1928.” “The cameleers weren’t easily accepted in many Australian communities,” said Mairi Popplewell. “Despite the important role they played in the Western Australian goldfields, their presence led to racist fears. Bullock drivers saw cameleers as competition while miners feared them as cheap labour.” But elsewhere, people were grateful for the cameleers’ work. Following the devastating drought between 1895 to 1902, solicitor John Edwards wrote to the AttorneyGeneral: “it is no exaggeration to say that if it had not been for the Afghan and his camels, Wilcannia, White Cliffs, Tibooburra, Milperinka and other Towns, each centres of considerable population, would have practically ceased to exist.” “Records in the National Archives show camels were used extensively for major projects that opened up the outback,” said Mairi. “They played a key role in the construction of the Overland Telegraph and, once the pro-


ject was completed, they continued to carry supplies and mail to settlements and townships along the line. “Camels were also used to develop the rail link between Port Augusta and Alice Springs which later became known as the Ghan.They carted water into the inland, and performed many other heavy tasks. One photograph even shows a camel train transporting a house in Kalgoorlie in 1928.” When rail and road transport superseded the need for camel teams, cameleers faced the prospect of unemployment and many returned to their homelands – sometimes after living in Australia for decades. Some remained and made a living as hawkers. Others, too old to make the change or travel home, remained in Australia, living in poverty on the margins of society. Stories of other Muslim settlers in Australia can be found at:

Bejah Dervish, was honoured for his role in the 1896 expedition through the deserts of Western Australia.


Australian National Maritime Museum


killfully designed and carefully aimed at public observers, a poster can be a powerful weapon… particularly in wartime. An exhibition on now at the Australian National Maritime Museum Persuasion – US propaganda posters from World War II - highlights the strategic use of wartime poster art. Designed by America’s top commercial illustrators and advertising brains, posters reached their peak of production and distribution during World War II, says Richard Wood, manager of the museum’s USA Gallery. “In the early 20th century the Americans had honed their marketing skills,” he says. “When they officially entered the war in 1941, the big advertising agencies were in full flight and you can see the ad people’s influence in the output of the Office of War Information.” The posters show a hardening of attitudes as the war progressed. Early in the conflict, recruitment posters showed strong, smiling service people heading off to the war to protect the people at home; later posters grimly appealed to the people at home to safeguard classified information to protect service people at the front. The emphasis is on the importance of saving time, money and resources. The enemy is evoked as an invisible menace, a threat to the American family and way of life. The posters in Persuasion run the gamut of propaganda from the prophetic drowning hand of Someone talked, to the patriotic Bonds buy ships and innocent Become a nurse to evoke America at war on the battlefront and at home. Australia’s place among the USA’s allies is represented by the This man is your FRIEND - Australian, poster that features a soldier in a slouch hat, just one of a series of a dozen ‘Friend’ posters produced by America during the war. To rally hearts and minds on the homefront, propaganda posters depicted the action of battle, its bloody aftermath, the urgency of the war effort and the need to keep going. The exhibition includes five small works of art that record a different facet of war. Works by Australian artists Robert Emerson Curtis, William E Pidgeon, Marjorie Schiappa, and Robert Oliffe Richmond capture the unreality of the ‘downtime’ before, between and after the heat of battle.

Above and beyond the call of duty David Stone Martin 1943, Office of War Information USA ANMM Collection Purchased with US Bicentennial Gift

Persuasion – US propaganda posters from World War II is open until 31 March 2014. Tickets are $7 adult, $3.50 child/concession and $17.50 family.The National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour is open daily from 9.30 am to 5 pm. All inquiries (02) 9298 3777.

Above and beyond the call of duty David Stone Martin 1943, Office of War Information USA ANMM Collection Purchased with US Bicentennial Gift


Above and beyond the call of duty David Stone Martin 1943, Office of War Information USA ANMM Collection Purchased with US Bicentennial Gift

Above and beyond the call of duty David Stone Martin 1943, Office of War Information USA ANMM Collection Purchased with US Bicentennial Gift

Bonds Build Ships! Buy More Bonds George Picken 1943, Abbott Laboratories USA ANMM Collection Purchased with US Bicentennial Gift

Above and beyond the call of duty David Stone Martin 1943, Office of War Information USA ANMM Collection Purchased with US Bicentennial Gift



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