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

Claudia Nicholson Unfaithful dogs (1893)

watercolour, copper leaf, diamantes, foil, and pearl pigment on paper

66.5 x 85.5 cm

The title of this work refers to the poem Faithful dogs by Australian writer Mary Gilmore, who lived briefly in New Australia – a failed utopian settlement in Paraguay. I have imagined New Australia to be a community of Amazons. Through my work, I explore the ways in which we navigate the complexities of identity in a post-colonial context. I am particularly interested in New Australia as I share with Australian descendants a dissymmetric cultural identity and nostalgia for a homeland I do not know. Unfaithful dogs (1983) conflates Central and South American folklore with pop culture, and reconfigures colonial-period woodcuts of indigenous peoples of the Amazon.

Claudia Nicholson, 2018