'Augustus Tower' | George Gittoes
10th March – 1st April 2021
Driven by a desire for peace and social justice, George Gittoes AM has created an exhibition that boldly confronts global environmental concerns, economies, and the implications of both for the future.
Created during the period of a global pandemic the exhibition ‘Augustus Tower’ is about globalisation and the economic and environmental erosion of society and culture as we know it.
In George's documentary WHITE LIGHT, the first few minutes show the police shooting of Harith Augustus, a black hairdresser in Southside Chicago who is accosted and killed on his way to his barber shop and in front of school children waiting at a bus stop. This shooting was before the murder by police of George Floyd which sparked massive BLACK LIVES MATTER protests throughout 2020.
Using AUGUSTUS in the title was a way of honouring and remembering Harith Augustus. But there is also the intended reference to Augustus Caesar and the idea that we are presently witnessing the fall of the American Empire the way Rome fell in ancient times.
TOWER is Trump Tower and links to the last scene in White Light where two of the young black characters from the film take a cruise down Chicago River which ends at Trump Tower.
These new paintings, their message and indeed some of the imagery have direct links back to earlier works previously painted by Gittoes.
George Gittoes' work has been collected by the Queensland Art Gallery and QAGOMA, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Powerhouse Museum, the Australian War Memorial, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia.