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Thea Van Veen

Thea Van Veen


Artist biography

Thea Van Veen was born in Australia and is currently residing in Canberra, studying at the Australian National University School of Art in the Photomedia department. She is passionate about studio photography and constructing realities.

Artist statement

Cricket is considered to be one of Australia’s favourite sports. Whether it be junior league, the Ashes or playing cricket on the beach, cricket is a popular pastime for many Australians. Players like Donald Bradman, Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne are household names, their skills praised all over the country.

The idolisation of sports stars has always fascinated me. Although I personally don’t enjoy watching cricket, the way that cricketers are portrayed in the media interests me. In this work I took this idolisation to the extreme. By putting the heads of cricketers on to the bodies of renaissance saints I have turned these players into something holy. Printing the images onto donated and found cricket bats turns each one into a relic-like object, and references the Renaissance paintings of saints on wood panels.

I have chosen to make eleven of these bats, enough to make up a cricket team. The choice of players reflect a mix of many a cricket expert’s favourites over the years, such as Dennis Lillee or Victor Trumper, and notorious cricket idols such as David Boon. They all hold cricket-related items in place of the holy items that the original saints held in the paintings.

Artist work

Title: Sanctus Undecim (Saint Victor Trumper, Saint Karen Rolton, Saint David Boon, Saint John Blackham, Saint Ricky Ponting, Saint Donald Bradman, Saint Dennis Lillee, Saint Matthew Hayden, Saint Nance Clements, Saint Shane Warne, Saint Stephen Waugh)
Medium: Binder medium, inkjet ink, wood
Date: September 2011

Artist inspiration

There is a lot of information on Cricket through the years in the Australian Journeys gallery, and after researching the sport, I discovered that there are many different ways that fans chose to show their love for the sport, from playing cards to tattoos. This inspired me to see how far that love could go.