Australia 1933 – 1993
commenced 1985 – 2000
print workshop (organisation)
My father's studio
Studio One Inc, Sydney
Canberra, New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory, 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
Edition: edition of 50
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.
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.
 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