Publication Details

Cockburn, J. P.. Talking About my Childhood: Tacky. Art Gallery of New South Wales. 19 December 1981 to 30 January 1982. Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 1981 Sydney: AGNSW, 1981.


The work by Jon Cockburn exhibited in the Wynne Competition at the AGNSW (1981-82) was entitled Talking About my Childhood: Tacky, and this relief sculpture explores the fragmentation of self that accompanies shifting meanings of place. The work takes its title from an instance in 1981 when Joan Brassil, Judith Blackall and Jon Cockburn went to the Australia Hotel, at the Rocks, for a few beers after completing respective projects in their shared studio space (Cumberland Street). Jon Cockburn got talking about his childhood in Papua New Guinea and Joan said: “Jon you have got to be where your soul is, you have got to be in Papua New Guinea, that is where your soul is” Joan used the word ‘soul’ as a term for a point of creative motivation, a point of reference and she meant being there in Papua New Guinea as a metaphorical more than geographic referent. In short, not turning your back on formative experiences in life.