VIDEO DOCUMENTARY AND BIOGRAPHY
Gordon Bennett is an Australian artist of Aboriginal and Anglo-Gaelic descent he was born in Monto, Queensland, and is now working in Brisbane.
Gordon’s work is quite varied from what I could see in the film. There were three dimensional installations with lights and mirrors as well as paintings and drawings. His style is very modern but calls on traditional themes to enhance and dramatise a story in an artwork.
In the movie Gordon spoke about being an Australian first and preferring to be called an artist, not an Aboriginal Artist, or any other descriptor that someone may want to tag on to the front of the word artist. He has a mixed heritage and even though seemingly a little torn between the two at times, he proudly talked about both.
Gordon left school in his mid teens and went to work doing anything other than art until he went to art school at Queensland College of Art where he did extremely well. Gaining some prestigious awards kick started his career and it looks like he has never looked back. A hard worker and dedicated to always producing the best quality art that he can, I admire him for his professional ethics as a practising artist.
It’s sad I think that our history in Australia has left such a scar on relations between races. Some would say that much of the racism is still going on in parts of the country and that is why the very confrontational themes in some of Gordon’s art is still relevant. That is a sad reflection on us as a nation. Nobody should have to allow people to think they of another race to be accepted. We should not have to apologise for who and what we are – especially racially.
I have never experienced racial prejudice in such a harsh manner and was brought up to get along with everyone who was a decent and kind person no matter what race they were or beliefs they held. My brothers and sister when young played happily with Aboriginal kids and my mum was a member of the Aboriginal Advancement league in the 1960s and a strong supporter of Australia’s original inhabitants. This means that I have to really apply myself in listening to Gordon when he talks about his experiences and knowledge in this regard.
One of my influences towards being an artist and painting landscapes were the prints of Albert Namtjira paintings in our lounge room as I grew up. Not traditional Aboriginal art but it was lovely and I admired his talent.
Speaking of influences I thought I could see some Sydney Nolan influence in Gordon’s works. Not that it matters, we all call on artists we admire on occasion and many famous artists have other artists as their inspiration and we see their influence in their work.
Gordon finished off talking about his hopes for a better future for his kids. He has worked hard to give them a good start and a loving home and I also hope that the Australia they inherit is one where we all can start to appreciate and respect our differences and similarities as valuable assets.