14. The Soul And David Syme II
Updated: Jun 28
Acrylic on linen
48” x 36”
Currently, our focus in Australia is on trying to address the errors of imperial invasion and settlement; we are attempting reconciliation with Australia’s original peoples after such cruel subjugation. As such, I am aware that it is not “in vogue” to be fascinated by our colonial history.
Is it distasteful then that I would choose to focus on David Syme, who is one of the world’s first media tycoons and the original owner of The Age newspaper? Besides the fact that the tomb is a stunning example of Egyptianized architecture, why have I taken such an interest in the man for whom it was built? (Come to the talk on Saturday, July 15 at 2.15 pm if you'd like to find out).
The slightly off-centre photo for this painting is one of many taken by me as I have undertaken painting the monument over the last 5 years. Sadly, my photos and videos reveal the rapid deterioration of the monument, a process that I hope will be halted when restoration begins.
The images of the gods – again HetHrt and Djehuti (this time without the Hellenic and Roman syncretic attributes) are again based on statues.
David Syme circa 1856, National Archive Australia