1949 – 2012

Machinetime Dreamtime 1981 Place made: Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Primary Insc: No inscriptions
Dimensions: 122.0 h x 60.5 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1982
Accession No: NGA 82.1676
Image rights: © Trevor Nickolls. Licensed by Viscopy
  • ‘My life revolves around painting and drawing. I incorporate Aboriginal and Western techniques and symbolism to make contemporary art that relates to both cultures today. My paintings are to share with everyone. I look to bridge the gap between Western and Aboriginal art My work is a balancing act, like walking a tightrope between my dreams and my life when I’m awake — from Dreamtime to Machinetime.’
    Trevor Nicholls, 1990 In his painting Machinetime Dreamtime of 1981 Trevor Nickolls was continuing a series of works based on the theme of alienation. The differences between cityscape and landscape underpin the sense of grief Nickolls feels about the loss of traditional Aboriginal society to an industrialised urban culture.

    Two perspectives, one from above and one from the ground, represent these two worlds. Nickolls uses traditional Aboriginal patterning and divided composition to portray the crowded living conditions of many urban Aboriginal people.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra