Anne Zahalka – Landscape Mythologies

The trip to Australia has led to some thinking and research into Australian photography, followed up on return to the UK, was the work of Anne Zahalka, a leading contemporary photographer and how her work in the 1980’s sought to challenge a mythology of Australian identity. This could be defined by the location of Australian history in the landscape of the Pioneer and the outdoor life of the beach. Zahalka recreated a number of classic Australian landscape pictures from the Heidelberg School, including through collage and later through recreation to undermine the accepted largely mono-cultural, Anglo Saxon male and patriarchal history. She reinterpreted works about the cultural space of the beach, feminising and representing a famous beach scene, Australian Beach Pattern a painting by Charles Meeres, with a new population, first with people of mixed European origin and then a scene full of Australians of different Asian and other ethnic backgrounds, most importantly including an aboriginal child appearing to claim possession of a towel with the Southern cross of stars – an emblem from the Australian Flag. Zahalka’s reinterpretation of Max Dupain’s iconic black and white image of the male surfer recumbent in the sun,  as a flame haired androgynous figure also changes the narrative of the Australian Male Icon.

I love these Frederick McCubbin paintings 'The Pioneer'  they are a set & capture the hardship of the scene.:

Frederick McCubbin paintings ‘The Pioneer’

Anne Zahalka The Immigrants (second version), 1985 type C photograph 85.5 x 50 cm edition of 5  Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery:

Anne Zahalka The Immigrants (second version), 1985 type C photograph


Australian beach pattern 1940 – Charles Meere (Art Gallery of New South Wales)

The Bathers, 1989, Anne Zahalka Type C photograph on flex Manly Art Gallery & Museum Collection

The Bathers, 2013, Anne Zahalka

The Sunbather No.2, 1989, Anne Zahalka, Type C print 74.5cm x 74.5cm Edition of 20
sunbaker max dupain:
Sunbaker – 1937 , Max Dupain

Blair, F (2009) Twelve Australian Photo Artists, Sydney: Piper Press.


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