Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Yesterday I saw the most powerful artwork I’ve ever seen: Colin McCahon’s “Victory Over Death 2”.

I was at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and I lost interest in everything else I saw after it. It left me trembling and too emotional to speak.

It was painted on a huge loose canvas. The words “I AM” dominated the work, and portions of bible verses are scrawled on various panels of the canvas.

When I got home I had a quick look at some articles about McCahon that I downloaded from the internet. I read that the painting had been given to Australia by the New Zealand government and that the Australian press had treated the gift with derision and mockery.
An article included a copy of a cartoon mocking the painting’s “I AM” statement.

I confess that after seeing that cartoon I felt like a third Boanerges, wanting to call down fire from heaven in judgement.


Information about the painting can be found here:


An image of the painting can be found here:



Fred said...

Great painting, Onesimus!
We gave it to Aust in a weak moment :(
In a moment of madness :(
You're gonna give it back to NZ now, aren't you? :)
Please? :)
You can have our Skyhawks in exchange :)
I think some of them can still fly :)
Please :)

Onesimus said...

You can keep the Skyhawks, just give us Hayley Westenra and take Russell Crowe back.

Maurice said...

You sure drive a hard bargain!

I'll trade you one Kiri te Kanawa plus one dead Fragg and any Skyhawk that can actually fly but you must promise to keep Russell Crowe. These islands are too small for a man of that statue.

Nix on Hayley. Christchurch has lost enough as it is. It was cruel of you to ask. Cruel :(

Onesimus said...

Hi Maurice,
From what I've read, Hayley is on her way to Australia (Chilean volcanoes permitting) to promote a new album.

If she stays here more than three days we'll be claiming her as our own anyway.