Jon Cattapan

(Australia 15 Apr 1956 – )

Curtain line (Australian crowd no. 2)

Not on display
Further information

Jon Cattapan's paintings of the early 2000s addressed the anxiety and paranoia gripping an increasingly borderless and globalised world at turn of the 21st century. This is exemplified in his work, 'Curtain line (Australian crowd no 2)' 2001, which was painted in response to the Australian Government's controversial politicisation of asylum seeking during the Tampa affair and the so-called 'children overboard' scandal in late 2001. By stoking the public's fear over refugees and immigration post 9/11, the Government sought to get re-elected on its tough stance on border control. In the foreground, Cattapan depicts the silhouette of an anonymous crowd, possibly protestors or stranded migrants, cordoned off from the rest of the world beyond the 'curtain line', represented by a shimmering network of dots and lines that alludes to the digital and architectural infrastructure that facilitates the fluid interchange of people, resources and information in our interconnected age.

diptych: oil on linen
180.0 x 360.0 cm overall :
a - left panel, 180 x 180 cm
b - right panel, 180 x 180 cm
Signature & date

Signed and dated u.l. verso on canvas [part a], black fibre-tipped pen "Cattapan 2001".

Anonymous gift 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number
© John Cattapan