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My Salute to Five Bells

Author John Olsen
Publisher National Library of Australia
(ISBN 9780642278821)
Published in 2015

Price A$ 30
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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.

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