Thursday 24 December 2009
This is Henry and Joey. They live in Australia. And that's one of my paintings between them. It's of a red brick railway station on the Melbourne suburban network.
I painted a lot of buildings when I was in Australia, and one of them even won a prize in 1997 - the Applied Chemicals International Acquisitive Prize for a watercolour of a Victorian factory building in Melbourne.
But I didn't win a prize in South Africa when one of my large nudes in a Pretoria University exhibition created a controversy. A screen had to be erected around the painting to prevent it being seen by the South African Prime Minister John Vorster who was visiting the uni. I always had trouble working out whether this display of bigoted Calvanism was because he'd never seen a nude women or because he didn't like to see women in the nude.
However, this kind of silly narrow mindedness was not unique to South Africa, and when I worked at Myer in Melbourne in the 1980's, a copy of Michelangelo's David on display in one of their windows had to have a fig leaf applied to hide his genitals before he was considered sartorially acceptable.
Anyway there's nothing controvercial about railway stations so Joey and Henry won't be needing any screens or fig leaves (I hope).
Posted by Ray Johnstone at 18:25