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

Gareth Sansom No man is an island

oil and enamel on linen

183.5 x 244 cm; 185 x 246 cm framed

At the halfway stage of this work, the shapes began to resemble a floating island reminiscent of Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin’s third painting of The isle of the dead 1883, which features towering cliff faces. I then developed the painting further, with Böcklin in mind.

At around the same time, I came across John Donne’s prose work Devotions upon emergent occasions 1624 in which two lines are memorable: ‘No man is an island’ and ‘For whom the bell tolls’. I use the first of these as my title, noting that we should feel a sense of belonging to the whole of the human race.

Gareth Sansom, 2020