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The richly allusive imagery in John Walker’s mural, with its landscape, figurative and literary references, explores the cyclic nature of life and death, of meeting and parting. Walker’s diverse sources include English poetry, the painting of Goya, the landscape of Vermont and Australian aboriginal culture. The painted texts are passages from the poetry of Wilfred Owen and Lord Byron, both speaking eloquently of departure and loss. Such moving farewells are balanced by the repeated symbol of rebirth, the speckled eucalyptus seed, whose form is also that of a clay vessel which, in aboriginal culture, holds the departed soul.
oil on canvas
H 80 x W 80 cm
commissioned by the University of Birmingham