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Gavin Jackson

Gavin Jackson


Gavin Jackson

Artist biography

Gavin Jackson is an Irish born Australian based in Canberra.

He has just completed his second year in a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the Australian National University.

Gavin has a passion for constructing images that explore ideas of identity, gender and culture, drawing much inspiration from cinema and literature.

Artist statement

Title: Women's Camp, Ulm, Germany

Women's Camp, Ulm, Germany is inspired by the wall hanging of Little Red Riding Hood that was made by Olga Basylewycz, a Ukrainian refugee, while she was living in a United Nations camp for displaced persons in Ulm, Germany, at the end of the Second World War. This work explores the ideals of power, humanity and human emotion that are synonymous with the repression of human beings by a more assertive individual or group, whilst addressing the consequences and human tragedy of war and the isolation felt by those displaced from their homelands.

Title: Pin-Ups

This work is based on the golden years of the pin-up girls during the 1940s and into the 1950s. The work grew from my deconstruction of Damian Parer's images. Parer shot thousands of images of soldiers at war, far from their loved ones. This work is a playful acknowledgment of the morale boosting pin-up girls who offered temporary distraction and hope to the soldiers that Parer had so vividly captured.

Title: Untitled, 2010

This work is also inspired by the wall-hanging of Little Red Riding Hood and grew from my research for Women's Camp, Ulm, Germany. The work explores issues of identity and forgery. In a time when people were categorized and discriminated against because of race, gender, religion and sexuality, this work exemplifies the extraordinary lengths that people will go to in order to survive. It explores the ability of people, victims and perpetrators alike, to abandon their identity and heritage and assume forged identities.

Artist works

Title: Women's Camp, Ulm, Germany
Medium: Inkjet prints on photographic paper
Dimension: 13 cm x 11.5 cm
Date: October 2010

A compilation of black and white identification photos featured in Gavin Jackson's work, Women's Camp, Ulm, Germany.

Title: Pin-Ups
Medium: Inkjet prints on newsprint paper
Date: October 2010

A compilation of photographs featuring models posing as 1940s 'pin-up girls'.

Title: Untitled, 2010
Medium: Inkjet prints on paper
Date: October 2010

A compilation of three identification documents featured in Gavin Jackson's Untitled work.

Artist inspiration

Title: Women's Camp, Ulm, Germany

The wall hanging of Little Red Riding Hood was presented to Valerie Paling in recognition of her humanitarian work with displaced people in the aftermath of the Second World War. From the earliest oral versions of the tale, which originated in France and Italy, there have been many adaptations covering a multitude of human emotions and interpretations. The majority of versions allude to sexual awakening, exploitation and survival, but the underlying moral of the story is to beware of strangers and not to take everything at face value. During the course of my research, I was inspired by the methodical approach by photographer Jeff Sheng to his work and, adapted a similar approach for this body of work.

Title: Pin-Ups

Damien Parer was an Australian photographer, cinematographer and war correspondent, who captured the horror, drama and emotion that troops on the front line experienced during the Second World War. His excellent work on the Kokoda Front Line! received international acclaim for its portrayal of the bravery and resilience of Australian soldiers in difficult conditions. Whilst these images are a stark contrast to Parer's work, I also drew inspiration from the many artists that emerged during this period, notably Alberto Vargas and Art Frahm. I have endeavored to demonstrate how the pin-up girls of the era brought hope and a desire for normality to a generation of young soldiers.

Title: Untitled, 2010

The inspiration for this work came from my research into displaced persons camps, concentration camps and identification documents from the Second World War. I was also influenced by the story of Olga Basylewycz and her wall-hanging of Little Red Riding Hood. Olga Basylewycz was one of approximately one million displaced persons who never returned to their homelands. In a bid to survive and escape persecution many assumed new identities and lived out the rest of their lives in anonymity.

Wall hanging depicting Little Red Riding Hood walking through a forest. A wolf appears from behind a tree, with his red tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. A variety of fabrics including felt and fur have been sewn onto a grey blanket to form the scene, which also shows an owl, a bird, a squirrel and a rabbit. Some of the elements are padded using a technique called stumping, and they have a three-dimensional appearance.
The National Museum's Little Red Riding Hood wall-hanging. Photo: George Serras.

View more about the Little Red Riding Hood wall-hanging

Curator Karen Schamberger detailed her research on the Little Red Riding Hood wall-hanging in a presentation at the National Museum on 30 May 2008.

audio_w15 Listen to 'Re-presenting Little Red Riding Hood'

An animation of the Grimm Brothers' 1812 version of the Little Red Riding Hood story, based on the wall-hanging, appears in the Australian Journeys gallery.

View the Little Red Riding Hood animation (MPEG4 18.3mb) duration 05:24

A black-coloured metal motion picture camera with three-lens turret, clockwork-driven film cartridge and side viewfinder. A black pistol-style handgrip extends beneath the camera body.
An Eyemo motion picture camera used by Damien Parer.
Photo: Lannon Harley.

Filming Kokoda Front Line!

The Second World War arrived on Australia's doorstep in July 1942. Japanese forces advanced across the island of New Guinea to the north of Australia, and Australian soldiers rushed to meet them on the steep, forested slopes of the Owen Stanley Ranges.

Australian cameraman Damien Parer accompanied the 21st Brigade to New Guinea where he filmed the troops' gruelling trek along the Kokoda Trail.

His film, Kokoda Front Line!, brought the campaign home to Australian audiences. This Eyemo camera is believed to be one of several he used to make the award-winning documentary.