John Samuel Watkins

Explorers on river bank

About this item: 

This work illustrates the interest Watkins had in depicting the human form. Here are nine men, presumably explorers in an Australian bush setting. These figures are arranged in various positions, gathered beside an unknown riverbank. Four of the men wear ragged clothes and no boots, in a state of exhaustion. Presumably they have been rescued by the main group of explorers.

A study of Australian masculinity, it celebrates attributes such as physical strength, displayed in the muscular poses and stature of the figures, an earthy, independent character and egalitarianism. The men are depicted as capable, but also laid-back and imbued with a sense of mateship.

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