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An image of Blacktown man by Gerrit Fokkema

Gerrit Fokkema

(Papua New Guinea, Australia 1954 – )

Blacktown man
Media category
Materials used
gelatin silver photograph

30.6 x 40.6 cm image; 40.3 x 50.6 cm sheet

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l. verso, pencil "1983... Gerrit Fokkema".
Purchased 1986
Accession number
© Gerrit Fokkema
Not on display
Further information

The work of Gerrit Fokkema exhibits a particular sensitivity to the uneasiness of people in Australian landscapes, both urban and rural. Fokkema was born in New Guinea in 1954, but raised in Canberra and worked as a press photographer before freelancing from 1986. Although his photographs demonstrate an interest in the formal qualities of landscape, the sense of rhythm his compositions generate also evoke the monotony of Australian space - sweeping terracotta roofs and long straight paths. This monotony is only interrupted by the presence of the human figure, usually isolated, alone and awkwardly out of place. In 'Blacktown Man' 1983, the flat image of the man appears dramatically superimposed on the land and sky of the suburban street. By reminding us of our sometimes uncomfortable relationship with the spaces we inhabit, Fokkema's work rejects any attempt to romanticise Australian life.

Bibliography (2)

Natasha Bullock, Australian postwar photodocumentary, Sydney, 2004. no catalogue numbers

Isobel Parker Philip, Look, 'Australian vernacular photography', pg.16-17, Newtown, Mar 2014, 16, 17 (illus.).

Exhibition history (3)

Souvenirs of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 14 Mar 1992–10 May 1992

Australian postwar photodocumentary, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Jun 2004–08 Aug 2004

Australian vernacular photography, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Feb 2014–18 May 2014