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


Blacktown man



Gerrit Fokkema

Papua New Guinea, Australia

1954 –

  • Details

    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
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Gerrit Fokkema

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Gerrit Fokkema

    Works in the collection


  • About

    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.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

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

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

Other works by Gerrit Fokkema

See all 24 works