Richard Killeen | New Zealand b.1946 | Mickey of Ulladulla 1995 | Synthetic polymer paint on aluminium | 32 pieces: 162 x 151cm (overall, approx.) | Purchased 1996. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Mickey of Ulladulla 1995
Richard Killeen is one of New Zealand's leading art practitioners and has made the idea of the 'cut-out' a hallmark of his work. A large component of his practice consists of transforming shaped metallic fragments into recognisable symbols as diverse as biological specimens, architectural forms and parts of the human body.
Mickey of Ulladulla 1995 comprises 32 painted aluminium fragments. The work refers to nineteenth-century Aboriginal artist Mickey of Ulladulla, who lived on the southern coast of New South Wales. His drawings are now considered one of the most important bodies of works by an Indigenous Australian from this period.
For Mickey of Ulladulla, Killeen has reworked Mickey's iconography of expressive and simple outlines that depict dancing figures, ships, fish, and moustached men in top hats and lace-up boots.
Mickey of Ulladulla's recent canonisation, from virtual anonymity, was of particular interest to Killeen's longstanding exploration of the formation of classification and knowledge systems.