Kevin GILBERTSTUDIO ONE INC, My father's studio Enlarge 1 /1


Wiradjuri people

Australia 1933 – 1993


commenced 1985 – 2000

print workshop (organisation)

My father's studio 1965 Place made: Studio One Inc, Sydney Canberra, New South Wales Australian Capital Territory, Australia Australia
Creation Notes: 1990, printed
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper linocut, printed in black ink, from one block Support: white textured paper
Edition State: published state
Impression: 6/50
Edition: edition of 50

Primary Insc: Signed and dated black pencil, lower right 'Kevin Gilbert '65' Title, lower centre in black pencil, 'My father's studio' Editor, black pencil, lower left '6/50' Printed, black pencil, lower right 'Printed 1990'
Dimensions: printed image 28.2 h x 35.4 w cm sheet 38.1 h x 56.2 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gordon Darling Australasian Print Fund 1990
Accession No: NGA 90.750
  • With the artist until his death in 1993.
  • Purchased by the Australian National Gallery, from the Estate of the artist, Canberra, June 1990.

When originally I started off [making art] I was in prison and for years I carried a picture in my mind … I thought: one day I would like to paint a picture of an old fellow sitting in a cave with the river right down below and all Aboriginal artwork in the cave. It was his studio and I had a name for it My Father’s Studio … That was my first go at linocuts and I liked the medium.[1]

Kevin Gilbert, a Wiradjuri man, was both artist and activist—art and politics, he noted, went hand in hand with Aboriginal striving for land rights. It was while he was a prisoner in Long Bay jail that he made his first linocuts in 1965—the first known prints by an Aboriginal artist. He continued his quest for Aboriginal identity through his play The cherry pickers 1968, and through poetry and polemic writing such as Because a white man will never do it 1973, and in his documentary photographs. He was one of the organisers of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in front of Old Parliament House, Canberra, in 1972.

Kevin Gilbert’s linocuts were not as didactic as the work of some other Aboriginal artists. Most were originally cut when he was in confinement, and they are imaginings of a different world where Aboriginal people take their rightful place. It was not until the 1990s that his prints became widely known and appreciated.

Roger Butler

[1] K Gilbert and E Williams, Breath of life, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Canberra, 1996, p 40.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010