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This work is from a series of paintings inspired by the chance discovery of a 1950s book that listed Australia’s bushrangers. Surprisingly, the first was a man named John ‘Black’ Caesar of unknown African parentage. A slave in America, he sought freedom in Britain only to end up a convict in Australia.
It’s a curious story, revealing that colonial Australia was multi-racial from the outset. He had a relationship with fellow convict Anne Power. He was shot and killed four years after their daughter’s birth.
I was interested in what must have been the despair around his relationship and for me his story holds within it universal truths about love and loss and desire.
- Fiona Lowry, 2015