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

Imants Tillers The solid mandala

acrylic, gouache on 54 canvas boards

229 x 213 cm

This is not a painting of Venice. Instead it depicts the collision of two worlds: the Aboriginal and the European. The upper area is an aerial view of a landscape in the Western Desert of Central Australia based on a recent work by Bobby West Tjupurrula titled Snake dreaming at Wilkinkarra.

I’ve juxtaposed aspects of this image with a view of the most watery of European cities – Venice, as interpreted by the great 20th-century artist Giorgio de Chirico. The title, The solid mandala, comes from a Patrick White novel. White purchased a series of works from my first solo exhibition in 1973, which he donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, so my painting is a homage to him.

- Imants Tillers, 2016