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This book is a deeply personal look at one of the most significant modern artworks in Australia. In this new publication written by the artist himself, John Olsen reflects on his Sydney Opera House mural and Kenneth Slessor's poem, Five Bells, which inspired it. The publication features Olsen's illustrated journal, one of the most spectacular art manuscripts in the National Library of Australia. His richly illustrated scrapbook of thoughts, quotes, diary entries, original drawings and clippings documents Olsen's experience. Olsen's great intellect and creativity shine through in lists of 'Things I like', haikus, and playful and poetic expression; margin notes offer great insight into the artistic process of one of our living treasures. Alongside Olsen's colourful account are full-page spreads and details of the mural, original works of art and a self-penned poem (appearing for the first time). Also included is a page from the hand-written notebook of Kenneth Slessor showing the words and imagery that so inspired Olsen.
It is John Olsen's most celebrated public art work, and the story of the Sydney Opera House mural Salute To Five Bells is told and illustrated in this beautiful new book.
With new text written by the artist himself, and a reproduction of the sketchbook-cum-scrapbook he compiled during the mural's creation, My Salute To Five Bells is a gorgeously illustrated insight into a key period of Olsen's life. Salute To Five Bells is one of the Opera House's most famous internal features. It evokes a riot of sea creatures in a dreamy body of water. Olsen's inspiration was
Kenneth Slessor's poem Five Bells, which mourns the nighttime drowning of a mate who fell from a Sydney ferry. Although Olsen was already an established artist in 1971 when he was commissioned to do the mural, his evocative journal with its private musings, jotted aphorisms and coloured sketches reveals his personal struggle with the huge work.