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Australian art


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Windows, Woolloomooloo



Viva Jillian Gibb


1945 -


Viva Jillian Gibb's photographs centre on social concerns and reveal her interest in environmental issues, human dignity and equality. After studying painting and printmaking at the National Gallery Art School of Victoria 1965–68 (now the Victorian College of the Arts) and working with photography, Gibb held her first photographic exhibition at the George Paton Gallery, Melbourne University Union in 1976 and a solo exhibition of photographs, 'One Year's Work', at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1979.

Gibb produced this triptych of broken windows in Woolloomooloo before the suburb's massive commercial redevelopment in the early 1970s and coinciding with efforts by organised interest groups to maintain areas of low income housing. In these photographs layers of time and human experience can be read into the derelict details of the houses – the graffiti and the decay.

Gibb travelled to South Africa to document the injustices and discrimination associated with Apartheid in the 1980s and spent time photographing migrants, children and the elderly in Melbourne. Gibb’s social commitment to understanding and documenting the lives of diverse groups of people is central to her photographic work. In ‘The critical distance: work with photography, politics, writing’, 1986, edited by Virginia Coventry, Gibb wrote, ‘As an individual and an artist I can only hope to present a reality other than that presented by TV and the media. I believe that with humanity, compassion, and a re-examination of past values we can counter the destructive forces that threaten the very existence of a living environment on this earth.’




Media category


Materials used

three gelatin silver photographs


a - photograph; 12.3 x 11.9 cm; image

a - photograph; 21.4 x 16.5 cm; sheet

b - photograph; 12.3 x 12.2 cm; image

b - photograph; 21.5 x 16.5 cm; sheet

c - photograph; 12.3 x 11.9 cm; image

c - photograph; 21.5 x 16.5 cm; sheet

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of the artist 1998


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Viva Jillian Gibb

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


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

Michael Wardell, My city of Sydney, Sydney, 2000. no catalogue numbers