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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia born 1944

  • born Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1944 movement details Asia, Europe 1970
  • Europe, Tunisia 1983-1988

The prime of life 1979 Description: a series of 12 handcoloured gelatin silver photographs

Collection Title: The prime of life
Place made: Mountain Lagoon, Sydney Blue Mountains, New South Wales New South Wales, Australia Australia
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photographs, hand-coloured in pencil, coloured pencils, watercolour and gouache Acknowledgement: Purchased 1981
Accession No: NGA 81.312.1-12

Allan explores ideas in series, a strategy that gives her work an exploratory, inquisitive flavour. These areas of investigation grew out of social or environmental concerns and interests. In some of her most notable series she focuses on life cycles-on babies and old age and on people in the so-called 'prime' of their life, which the artist defined as ages 28-42, based partly on age cycles according to traditional Chinese medicine.

Several of the people photographed for the series The prime of life preferred the painted image of themselves over the black-and-white image, saying the colour gave it more 'life'. As Allan said in 1982, 'I think the painting gives the photographs warmth. I guess that's the colour really. Colour is crucial'.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra