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Curtain line (Australian crowd no. 2)



Jon Cattapan


15 Apr 1956 –

No image
  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    diptych: oil on linen
    180.0 x 360.0 cm overall :

    a - left panel, 180 x 180 cm

    b - right panel, 180 x 180 cm

    Signature & date

    Signed and dated u.l. verso on canvas [part a], black fibre-tipped pen "Cattapan 2001".

    Anonymous gift 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © John Cattapan
    Artist information
    Jon Cattapan

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Jon Cattapan's paintings of the early 2000s addressed the anxiety and paranoia gripping an increasingly borderless and globalised world at turn of the 21st century. This is exemplified in his work, 'Curtain line (Australian crowd no 2)' 2001, which was painted in response to the Australian Government's controversial politicisation of asylum seeking during the Tampa affair and the so-called 'children overboard' scandal in late 2001. By stoking the public's fear over refugees and immigration post 9/11, the Government sought to get re-elected on its tough stance on border control. In the foreground, Cattapan depicts the silhouette of an anonymous crowd, possibly protestors or stranded migrants, cordoned off from the rest of the world beyond the 'curtain line', represented by a shimmering network of dots and lines that alludes to the digital and architectural infrastructure that facilitates the fluid interchange of people, resources and information in our interconnected age.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

Other works by Jon Cattapan