James Wigley is best known for his representations of Indigenous people and culture. Across his career, he spent significant time in remote communities throughout South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory with anthropologist Ronald Berndt. Here he helped establish schools, sheep stations, and other business ventures.
There is a political tenet to Wigley’s work. Like fellow social realist artists Noel Counihan and Vic O’Connor, Wigley was invested in giving voice to otherwise oppressed minorities, in particular Indigenous people. Unlike Counihan and O’Connor however, there remains poetry to his imagery. In ‘The Mother’ for example, a mother is pictured cradling her newborn. Caught in both pride and apprehension, she contemplates the vital, fragile person in her lap. Under Wigley, this work contains both pathos and dignity, evoking the universal experience of motherhood.
Although undated, ‘The Mother’ seems to hail from the late 1950s to early 1960s - the peak of Wigley’s career. After years spent drawing in Port Hedland and Pilbara, he sold out several exhibitions with Australia Galleries. Today Wigley is represented at the National Gallery of Australia; National Gallery of Victoria and several regional and tertiary institutions. For collectors of social realism, historically rich and Wigley art, ‘The Mother’ tells a complex story. Investigate for yourself.
James Vadeleur WIGLEY (1917 - 1999)
'The Mother' ca. 1960s
oil on board
Image Size: 61 x 51 cm
Dimensions: 80 x 70 x 4 cm
Comes with Letter of Provenance
Bears the artists name and title on Australian Galleries label verso.
Availability: in stock
Condition:Good: Describes the average used work of art where the image is in Fine condition. The margin may need to be framed out due to markings, corner wear, dog ear, small tears or if framed, the frame may have minor damage.
© The Artist or Assignee