Caught in the net, 2011, oil and acrylic on canvas, 152 x 122 cm
On the night of 31 May 1942, three Japanese midget submarines entered the waters of Sydney Harbour embarking on a surprise attack which resulted in chaos and panic in the nation’s largest city. Twenty-one Australian Naval personnel and six Japanese submariners perished in the attack.
These fourteen major works were commissioned by Mosman Art Gallery to mark the 70th anniversary in 2012, and will be on loan for a limited time, with thanks to the gallery. Also included are several studies that Ken completed in preparation for the final series. This exhibition is a unique opportunity to experience this rarely seen series, commemorating a little-known part of Australian history.
‘I didn’t want to glorify war, however the courage and valour of these young Japanese submariners is to be respected and admired. I hope these paintings leave the viewer with some understanding of this passage of Australian history. It was a great honour and challenge to be given this commission by the Mosman Art Gallery’
Ken Done, ATTACK catalogue, 2012
‘Done has always been popular in Japan, his knowledge of Japanese culture and society is built on pragmatic understanding and respect. In this series of works Done’s motifs and forms are depicted over, under, upside down … an underwater world where everything is cut adrift, made weightless, and where images bubble up onto the surface’
Glenn Barkley, ATTACK catalogue, 2012
The collection will be at The Ken Done Gallery from 3 – 11 September 2022 as part of Japanaroo a new initiative to promote exchange and collaboration between Japan and Australia across culture, food, tourism, education, career development, sports, and technology and innovation.
With thanks to Director John Cheesman and the Mosman Art Gallery.