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

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Brisbane Queensland Australia
    Media category
    Materials used
    synthetic polymer paint on canvas
    150.0 x 120.0 cm
    Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Art Collection Benefactors 2015
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Vernon Ah Kee courtesy Milani Gallery, Brisbane

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Vernon Ah Kee

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Vernon Ah Kee completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Hons) at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane, majoring in drawing and screen-printing. Today, his diverse artistic practice also includes photography, painting, video and installation. Ah Kee is a founding member of proppaNOW, a Brisbane-based Indigenous art collective that includes artists such as Richard Bell, Tony Albert and Gordon Hookey. ProppaNOW, was established in 2003 to give Indigenous artists living and working in Brisbane a voice. They present a unique perspective of historical and social Australia which is sometimes confronting and always thought provoking.

    Earlier in Ah Kee’s career, he reclaimed Indigenous portraiture through his hyper realistic depictions of historical photographs. His highly political motivations have been also been expressed through his use of text and language, informed by war propaganda posters and advertising imagery.

    Brutalities 9 2014 is informed by Ah Kee’s travels to Turkey and knowledge of the genocide of the Armenians living in Turkey one hundred years ago. In Brutalities 9, Ah Kee examines the face of this cruelty itself, giving visual form to the person one becomes when they subject others to such acts. This menacing assailant is identifiable in the violence, intimidation and aggression it presents. However, the abstract depiction of facial forms eludes identification - this could be anyone.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

    • When silence falls, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Dec 2015–29 May 2016

    • From Here, for Now, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Nov 2022–12 Feb 2023

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

    • Cara Pinchbeck, Look, 'When silence falls', pg. 24-26, Sydney, Dec 2015-Jan 2016, 26.

Other works by Vernon Ah Kee