Artists Statement

The landscape of rural Australia is under increasing pressure from encroachment of the suburban sprawl of big cities.  The imagery in this work borrows from the decorative element of earthy linoleum flooring and lace curtains of early housing.  Embedded in the earth is a layering of text, reflecting the histories of those who have lived there.  The toss of the coin, the spirit of the gamble is reflected in the trajectories of the spin of two pennies.  Gambling has been a distinctive part of Australian life.    It has enriched our history and created many colourful characters, while creating significant social problems.  Two-up is a gambling game developed by the early convicts.  Played during the gold rushes, two-up was played by soldiers in both world wars.  It is a game where two coins, i.e. Australian pennies are spun in the air and bets are placed on whether they will land showing two heads or two tails.  The Australian penny, no longer the currency, had the King/Queens head on one side and a kangaroo on the other.

More than two thirds of Australian households owned or were currently buying their dwelling as at the time of the last Australian census.  Home ownership is an aspiration for many and is often referred to as the great Australian dream.  However the indigenous populations like that of Bathurst/Melville Island have statistically the lowest home ownership rate of 0.4%.  The dream is a nightmare for some.   With most Australians living on the eastern and western coast line, where soil and rainfall are best, the current trend to hobby farming and acreage living means our already vast cities sprawl over ever more miles of arable land.  With farmers struggling financially, and professional people making vaster fortunes than ever before, the city encroachments are escalating at alarming rates. There are many costs for the great Australian dream.

Description of Work

Title:           Give Me a Home Among the Gum Trees

Artist:           Helen Sanderson

Country:      Australian

Date:            2005

Materials:    Wooden stretcher with cotton canvas, gesso, acrylic paint, ink & found objects:
                    2 Australian pennies;    wooden box, printed papers.

Size:           Artwork: 230mm/9 x 230mm/9

                   Box: 278mm/13 x 278/13

Weight:       945grams / 2lbs 1 1/4 oz 

The title comes from a popular song sung by Australian children:

give me a home among the gum trees     
with lots of plum trees       
and a sheep or two and a kangaroo
a clothesline out the back                            
verandah out the front      
and an old rocking chair.

youll see me in the kitchen                          
cooking up a roast            
Vegemite on toast 
just you and me and a cup of tea
and when my friends all ask me                  
the place that I adore       
Ill tell you right away 

give me a home among the gum trees

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Copyright 2000 Helen Sanderson - Artist
Last modified:  October 09, 2008                Site Design:  JWS Web Design