Runner Up 2024

Danny Leyland

Hunters of the Black Swan

Jackson's Art Prize 2024
90 x 120 cm


“One of the things I am trying to do with this painting is to propel the figure at the centre, the swan hunter, encouraging him out of the past and into the present by visually offering his form towards the viewer. I think of him as a kind of vardøger, or ‘psychic predecessor’, a spirit-like presence which precedes a person or event. The word ‘predecessor’ here is useful because it offers a kind of double meaning. The other connotation of the word is to do with those who preceded us in history – our collective ancestors. In the society of the present, we are constantly haunted by the past. This particular figure refers to the settlers who hunted for black swans in Tasmania in the 19th and 20th centuries. He is posed here alongside two other figures, one quoted from a Piero Della Francesca painting, and another bather (my friend) from a contemporary context.

I want these painted figures to feel real and tangible, specific to an everyday encounter, such as that of gathering to bathe in a body of water. – It is in the most mundane and prosaic moments that slippages can occur between different times and places.”