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The Surfers

Date: 1989
Overall: 950 x 1100 mm, 0.17 kg
Medium: Type c print on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00030675
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    'Bondi: Playground of the Pacific' documents aspects of Australia's beach and leisure culture. The artist specifically turned her eye to the centrality of the beach in Australia's identity, and the role of Bondi in particular. In the series Zahalka used a painted background of a beach, against which she placed icons drawn from the Australian beach. In this reflexive image the surfers are Japanese, rather than the stereotypical blonde haired, bronzed Australian 'type', reflecting changes in Australian society and culture.
    SignificanceThis photograph from the 'Bondi: Playground of the Pacific' series is an important satirical and affectionate look at the Australian beach experience and our changing notions of the bronzed Australian hero and the Anglo-Celtic model of the nuclear family.
    HistoryAnne Zahalka's Bondi series documents aspects of Australia's beach and leisure culture and identity. The artist has had a continuing preoccupation with these themes and the profile they have in the promotion of national identities. She examines the theatre of sporting and leisure events, in a setting which is both real and unreal. The young Japanese men in 'The Surfer' are posed in a studio setting that has been carefully constructed to emulate a stereotypical beach scene. Their racial background challenges the traditional Anglo-Celtic 'type', reflecting changes in Australian society and culture.
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