Lucky Country #1 - #4

To Large Works  To Details
Arrow left
Arrow down

John Webb: Lucky Country #1 (2017)

Lucky Country #1 (2017)
76cm x 58cm

John Webb: Lucky Country #2 (2017)

Lucky Country #2 (2017)
76cm x 58cm

John Webb: Lucky Country #3 (2017)

Lucky Country #3 (2017)
76cm x 58cm

John Webb: Lucky Country #4 (2017)

Lucky Country #4 (2017)
76cm x 58cm

Image details:

John Webb: Lucky Country #1 (detail 1)

John Webb: Lucky Country #4 (2017) (Detail 2)

John Webb: Lucky Country #4 (2017) (Detail 3)
Lucky Country #1 (2017)
(Detail 1) 
Lucky Country #4 (2017)
(Detail 2) 
Lucky Country #4 (2017)
(Detail 3) 

Australia Red Map icon


This work:

The four works in this mini-series begin (at Lucky Country #1) on a sombre note - in black and white, and move towards the warm, golden tones of Lucky Country #4, where words like "love" and "beauty" are associate with the "land".

In the darker works, many x and + marks can be seen. Are these "x marks the spot" for mining claims, and + for the tombstones that often litter the landscape in Webb's works? The brighter part of those works show stylised plants and scrub grass, but lurking in the dark shadows one can make out silhouettes of the faces and limbs of the earliest inhabitants of this land.

By the time we reach Lucky Country #4, musical scores [also seen in Songlines For a Sunburnt Country #1 (2017)], flowers, and even a windmill appear. Have we now arrived, indeed, at the "Lucky Country", or is this simply the golden glow of sentiment informing our view?

Look hard, and the viewer may find the rugged outline of Albert Tucker's cover painting for the first edition of "The Lucky Country" lurking in this landscape.

Australian context:

The Lucky Country is a 1964 book by Donald Horne. The title has become a nickname for Australia and is generally used favourably, although the origin of the phrase was negative in the context of the book. Among other things, it has been used in reference to Australia's natural resources, weather, history, its early dependency of the British system, distance from problems elsewhere in the world, and other sorts of supposed prosperity.

Horne's intent in writing the book was to document Australia's climb to power and wealth, basing it almost entirely on luck rather than the strength of its political or economic system, which Horne believed was "second rate"
. (From Wikipedia)

See also Inside Story's (2014) "The Lucky Country Turns Fifty".

Score for My Country by Dorothea McKellar

Donald Horne: The Lucky Country (book)
 Score for "My Country" by Dorothea McKellar
Image: Australian Music Centre
Donald Horne: The Lucky Country 
ImagePenguin Books Australia