A cannibal’s lament: Alexander Pearce’s misadventures travelling across Van Diemen’s Land

My work looks at the relationship between convict history, landscape and contemporary masculinity. The exchange between environment, narrative and masculinity opens up a space that permits our Gothic/melancholic heritage to traverse from the past to the present, thereby continuing to inform the performance of contemporary Australian masculinity. Stumbling around in the bush the pair of convict escapees appear lost, fighting not only for survival but also for their masculinity. Arms raised like zombies, these cannibal convict convey a comic but violent masculinity that farcically tries to assert a phallic authority over the Tasmanian bush which they clearly lack.

Shannon Field


Oil & enamel on canvas