Landfall, automotive enamel and oil on hardboard, 90 x 60 cm
(click on image to enlarge)
This painting is from a very small black and white photo taken of my family upon our arrival in Australia as émigrés from war-torn Europe. Our ship, the Fairsea (link here), had just docked briefly in Fremantle on its passage to Melbourne, our destination. But we got off the boat just so our feet could be on Australian soil and we could be sure the dream was real.
I didn't know much about Australia other than that it had poisonous snakes and you could fry eggs on rocks in the desert sun. And that it had never known war. No more scrambling through the rubble of bombed-out buildings searching for few pfennig of scrap metal, for me.
To my right sit my mother and father. To my left, my brother. All are dead now.
I sit in my blue corduroy bib-trousers, my best and favourite piece of clothing. I could still wear them at the Bonegilla Migrant Camp (here and here) but at Glenroy Primary School i learnt that often one has to discard what one loves, and hide what one is, in order to fit in.
Thank you Ritaflo for your nostalgic portrait of me (link) in my beloved bib trousers, school satchel on my back.
I have made the figures small because i felt very small. I have located the group on a featureless black surround because I had arrived in Terra Incognita (link). I have, ever since, struggled to get my bearings.
This is still a self-portrait. But it also marks the beginning of some family portraits i have commenced based on family snaps (photos) from my formative years.