Outsider (painting)

Outsider
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ArtistGordon Bennett
Year1988
MediumOil and acrylic on canvas
Dimensions290 cm × 180 cm (110 in × 71 in)
University of Queensland Art Museum

Outsider is a 1988 oil and acrylic painting by post-modern Indigenous Australian artist Gordon Bennett.[1] The painting focuses on issues of the increasing isolation Indigenous Australians feel in their own country, with the date the painting was painted in (1988) being the bicentennial anniversary of white settlement in Australia.

The painting depicts an Indigenous Australian with a severed torso along with two classical and sculptural heads and reflects a lone culturally marginal figure who exists outside the social contexts of the mainstream world and art world.[2] Outsider has been appropriated and is intended to be interpreted through the lens of the ‘other’, otherwise known as those who exist to a subordinate social category under the dominant and westernised culture. It is charged with the feelings of frustation and confusion of Indigenous Australians.

Within this painting Bennett has appropriated famous works of Van Gogh, including Bedroom in Arles (1888) and The Starry Night (1889) and uses the paintings to represent his own life. The interpretation of Outsider varies between critics but is mainly suggested to be reflective of a man divided by the ideology of his upbringing and of his place.

  1. ^ Bennett, Gordon; McLean, Ian (1996). The Art of Gordon Bennett. Roseville East, NSW: Craftsman House. p. 79.
  2. ^ Bennett, Gordon (2020). Gordon Bennett: selected writings. Brisbane, Queensland: Power Publications and Griffith University Art Museum. p. 114.

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