The persistence of language
Created during his second year at art school in Brisbane, this painting incorporates many of the key elements that Gordon Bennett has since gone on to refine as part of his broad-ranging subject matter. During his career Bennett has produced numerous compositions that position him as a leading contributor to the development of Australian art since the late 1980s. His paintings and writings have also figured prominently within international post-colonialism debates. Intellectually, his work has not only impacted on fundamental Australian political and social questions, but contributed to the understanding of the dramatic impact of the new interactive global order, alternative readings of identity and a necessary revision of an exclusively European view of colonial history.The monochromatic treatment in this painting provides a basis for the subject matter, which deals with both the Australian era of black deaths in custody and the artist's own experiences and responses to the extremities of racism. With its unequivocal emotional message the work reveals a visual rawness. However it communicates a mature emotional 'edge' which Bennett has maintained.