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


Sago child



Pat Brassington


03 Mar 1942 –

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    inkjet print
    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.

    Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors' Program 2000
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Pat Brassington

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Pat Brassington

    Works in the collection


  • About

    ‘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

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

Other works by Pat Brassington

See all 27 works