We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of New South Wales stands.

Harry Townsend Elthma (A deconstructed tragedy in 5 acts)

Work by Harry Townsend

I became interested in filtering the human image by finding discarded objects that could serve as figurative forms. The now distilled forms suggested personalities of their own; for example, some seemed feminine while others seemed masculine, some seemed more animated while others static. A fellow student thought one of the images had the appearance of a human skull. Having just read a graphic novel of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, I had the idea of turning my ‘distilled’ forms into illustrations of the play. My sculptures then became drawings and in turn became etchings. This was helpful because it allowed me to add colour to the characters, choosing hues and tones that matched the atmosphere of the original play. I then chose one line from each act that best suited my etchings and jumbled the line randomly to suit the somewhat randomness of how the images were made. My teacher informed me that I had ‘deconstructed many objects and words’ – the brutal quality of deconstructing helped me to title the work.


Braidwood Central School



HSC year