Collection Online

The bathers
from the Bondi: Playground of the Pacific series 1989

type C photograph
76.4 × 92.5 cm (image)
Place/s of Execution
Sydney, New South Wales
Accession Number
Australian Photography
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1991
© Anne Zahalka/Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
Gallery location
Not on display
About the work

In her Bondi: Playground of the Pacific series, Anne Zahalka wittily explores and subverts the mythologies and stereotypes that have evolved around Sydney’s Bondi Beach. To signal that she is working in the realm of ideas rather than observable reality, she sets her photographs in a studio setting, importing sand, furniture and beach paraphernalia, and using an obviously artificial, painted backdrop whose edges are clearly visible.

Zahalka takes as her inspiration the celebrated Charles Meere painting Australian beach pattern (1938–40) (Art Gallery of New South Wales). But unlike Meere’s original, which has a cast of athletic and heroic Anglo-Celtic men and women, Zahalka chooses people who reflect the multicultural and culturally diverse nature of contemporary Australia.