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Collection

An image of Sago child by Pat Brassington

Pat Brassington

(Australia 03 Mar 1942 – )

Title
Sago child
Year
1999
Media category
Photograph
Materials used
inkjet print
Dimensions

69.7 x 50.3 cm image; 105.6 x 82.9 cm sheet; 109.5 x 86.5 x 5.5 cm frame

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors' Program 2000
Accession number
149.2000
Copyright
© Pat Brassington
Location
Not on display
Further information

‘Sago child’ marks the introduction of colour in Pat Brassington’s work, the artist having previously been committed to black-and-white imagery. Her initial use of colour is subtle and controlled. Being still ‘seduced by the monochrome image’, Brassington applies colour in softly tinted transparent layers via digital editing.1 The pastel colour insinuates infancy and intimacy but this is not the claustrophobic intimacy of ‘In my mother’s house’ 1994 (AGNSW collection). There is a more immediate sense of this being a constructed image, as opposed to the evidential, documentary nature of the domestic images of ‘In my mother’s house’. ‘Sago child’ seems more patently symbolic of linkages with the maternal body and less like experiential evidence.

In comprehending the work’s manipulated figure, with its radiating blue umbilical cord and round satiated doll’s belly, the form of a magic and surreal feeding infant is suggested. Yet the addition of elongated legs to this doll torso alters this perception, suggesting instead a ripe maternal figure. Brassington’s skill in constructing works that tap directly into the subconscious mind and memory is evident. ‘Sago child’ alludes to the complex entwining concepts of mother–child relations, bodily function and creation, sustenance and, perhaps, humble cravings for sago?

1. Brassington P quoted in Klaosen D 1988, ‘An interview with Pat Brassington’, ‘Imprint’, vol 33, no 2, winter p 10

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007

Bibliography (2)

George Alexander, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Tableaux - memento mori - screen culture', pg.313-335, Sydney, 2007, 323 (colour illus.).

Judy Annear, World without end - Photography and the 20th century, 'World without end: Photography and the 20th Century', pg.8-29, Sydney, 2000, 18, 67 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (2)

World Without End - Photography and the 20th Century, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 02 Dec 2000–25 Feb 2001

Pat Brassington work in progress, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Parkville, 13 Jul 2002–15 Sep 2002