University Of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

A Curious Absence

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-25, 01:03 authored by Rebe TaylorRebe Taylor, Greg LehmanGreg Lehman

Greg, you and I have known each other and talked about history and a whole bunch of other stuff for nearly twenty years. Recently I have had the pleasure of reading something of yours few people have: your PhD, Regarding the Savages: Visual Representation of Tasmanian Aborigines in the 19th Century. Unlike a lot of PhDs, this is a very readable text, and I am pleased to hear you’ll be publishing it. It is the culmination of many years of research into your area of expertise in art history.

The questions and discussion tonight grows out of the third chapter of your thesis, titled ‘A Landscape Emptied’ – which has I think inspired the title of tonight’s conversation ‘A Curious Absence’.

I found this chapter fascinating, and I think the audience will too. It brings to light that landscape painting is not simply about making pretty pictures. “The landscape is”, as you quote WJT Mitchell: " a particular historical formation associated with European imperialism". What does that mean in Van Diemen’s Land? How is landscape painting political, and does it have anything to do with this idea of an absence of Aboriginal people?


Publication title

Hadley’s Art Prize


College Office - College of Arts, Law and Education

Place of publication

Hadley’s Orient Hotel, Hobart

Event title

Hadley’s Art Prize

Event Venue

Hadley’s Orient Hotel, Hobart

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Understanding Australia’s past

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania