University Of Tasmania

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Analgesic Field (NW Tasmania), painting selected for the Wynne Prize 2011

posted on 2023-05-25, 07:50 authored by Neil HaddonNeil Haddon
Tasmania produces over fifty per cent of the world’s pharmaceutical opiates derived from poppy straw. This figure used to be higher (up to eighty per cent). Many of the poppy fields are located the North of Tasmania. In January and February the local print media often carries accounts of the state of the poppy industry as the crop nears harvest. I have thought of artists like John Glover coming to Tasmania and painting his pioneering images to send back to England. These may have been seen as pleasingly exotic images from the Colonies that offered an interesting distraction to domestic scenes. In the series of paintings that includes ‘Analgesic Fields (NW Tasmania)’ I am thinking of Tasmania’s export of pain-killing opiates, of it’s current status as an analgesic island offering the possibility of temporary relief in dark times. Glover’s view of workers gathering golden harvests (the tamed Gothic wilderness) is replaced by dark imagery caught between the business-like export of respite and the brooding recognition of pain and suffering. This work reverses the once held vision of Tasmania as a wild inhospitable place and suggests that this might now be a view outwards from this palliative location.



enamel and oil paint on aluminium


School of Creative Arts and Media


Art Gallery of New South Wales


71 days

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