- Gordon Bennett 1955–2014
- Oil paint and acrylic paint on canvas
- Support: 1843 × 1845 mm
- Tate and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, with support from the Qantas Foundation 2015, purchased 2016
This painting is based on Samuel Calvert’s 19th-century etching Captain Cook Taking Possession of the Australian Continent on Behalf of the British Crown, AD 1770, itself a copy of a lost painting by John Alexander Gilfillan. Bennett painted his version after Australia’s bicentennial celebrations in 1988. For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, this was a time to mourn the devastating consequences of 200 years of colonisation. In Calvert’s etching, an Aboriginal man holds a drinks tray. Here he is concealed under blocks of black, red and yellow, the colours of the Aboriginal flag. These geometric forms also refer to the early 20th-century abstract artist Kazimir Malevich.
Gallery label, July 2021
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- flag, Union Flag(149)