An image of Totem I (black - the get laid totem)

Brett Whiteley

(Australia, England 07 Apr 1939 – 15 Jun 1992)

Totem I (black - the get laid totem)

Other titles:
Totem 1, The get laid totem, Black Totem Egg
Not on display
Further information

"Sculpture is totemic, phallic, something that grows upwards from the earth or from the gallery floor." Brett Whiteley

As a young boy, Whiteley was fascinated with bird's eggs and nests, often collecting them and persuading others to collect for him as well. The egg - a recurring element in his work - is traditionally a symbol of fertility. Brancusi considered it the perfect form. Whiteley has evoked a sense of celebration by exaggerating size and scale to create this fantasy totem. He was also fascinated by the traditional burial poles of northern Australian aborigines which he saw at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In them he saw a sense of growing upwards from the ground.

A different vision, Brett Whiteley Studio exhibition catalogue, 1998

fibreglass and wood
284.5 x 170.2 x 61.0 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Purchased by the New South Wales State Government 1994, transferred to the Gallery 1998
Accession number
© Wendy Whiteley