An image of Study for 'The arrival of implacable gifts'

James Gleeson

(Australia 21 Nov 1915 – 20 Oct 2008)

Study for 'The arrival of implacable gifts'

Not on display
Further information

"We often wish for things, that if the wish were granted, it would be detrimental for us. The gift would overawe us. If we get the gift it could dominate or wreck our real life. It occurred to me that this idea was linked up with the Cargo Cult. Primitive people thought gifts would come from the sky, dropped from silver-winged birds. These gifts would make life easy, fulfil their heart's desire. So often these gifts turn out to be anything but beneficent. So I thought of a sky like a stormy sea where incoming gifts are deposited like wreckage on people underneath, including me - right under the fallout. The sea deposits all these things that were longed for, that turn out to be things that bind us or even destroy us."
- James Gleeson 1986

Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2000

charcoal on white wove Arches paper
56.8 x 76.5 cm sheet
Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l. corner, charcoal "Gleeson 31.1.85".

Gift of the artist 1985
Accession number
© Gleeson/O'Keefe Foundation