Category Index
Books About Big Art
  • A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932
    A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932
    by John Richardson
  • Sarah Lucas: A Catalog Raisonné
    Sarah Lucas: A Catalog Raisonné
    by Yilmaz Dziewior, Sarah Lucas
  • Grayson Perry
    Grayson Perry
    by Jacky Klein
  • Hendrik Kerstens (English and Dutch Edition)
    Hendrik Kerstens (English and Dutch Edition)
    by Pim Milo, Kathy Ryan
  • David Hockney: A Bigger Picture
    David Hockney: A Bigger Picture
    by Marco Livingstone, Margaret Drabble, Tim Barringer, Xavier Salomon, Stuart Comer, Martin Gayford
  • Vernon Ah Kee: Born in this Skin
    Vernon Ah Kee: Born in this Skin
    by Robert Leonard, Anthony Gardner, Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Blair French, Glenn Barkley
  • Yayoi Kusama
    Yayoi Kusama
    by Midori Yamamura, Jo Applin, Yayoi Kusama
  • Henry Moore: From the Inside Out; Plasters, Carvings, Drawings
    Henry Moore: From the Inside Out; Plasters, Carvings, Drawings
    Prestel Publishing
  • Wall and Piece
    Wall and Piece
    by Banksy
  • Mark Rothko
    Mark Rothko
    by Mr. Jeffrey Weiss
  • Louise Bourgeois
    Louise Bourgeois
    by Robert Storr, Paulo Herkenhoff
  • Damien Hirst
    Damien Hirst
    by Ann Gallagher
Join the Big Picture

A blog that aims to spark thoughts and inspire by seeking out and sharing works of art

Historically, artists have always worked big, and nowadays those boundaries are being pushed to the limits.

Large-scale art, whether in the form of photos from the Hubble space telescope, sharks floating in tanks of formaldehyde, rooms full of dots, concrete sculptures cast from Victorian buildings or hand knitted blankets wrapped around trees, large-scale art is all around us. Join the Big Picture aims to spark thoughts and inspire by seeking out and sharing these works.

All content by Karla Thompson, an ex-pat Aussie living in East London. When not working on Join the Big Picture she is part of the backbone to the Leonhard Pfeifer brand.

Read an interview about Join the Big Picture here.


Karla Thompson
Creative Partner




Detail of Yarn Bombing UK

Entries in GOMA Brisbane (2)


Vernon Ah Kee - GOMA Queensland

neither pride nor courage 2006
by Vernon Ah Kee, Australia Qld b.1967

Kuku Yalanji/Waanyi/Yidinyji/Guugu Yimithirr people

Pastel, charcoal and synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Whilst in Brisbane just before Christmas 2011, I had the pleasure of wondering around the GOMA Queensland child free for the entire afternoon and was mesmerised by the work of Vernon Ah Kee.

A big fan of charcoal drawings, I loved Vernon’s large scale hand drawn family portraits. Confrontational with a direct gaze, the portraits are striking and engaging with their pure honesty and layered with meaning and messages which delve into history and the complexity of aboriginal life in Australia.

The drawings reference historic photographs of his family, made by the anthropologist Norman B Tindale between the 1920s and early 60s. The first portraits show Ah Kee’s grandfather – in frontal and profile view; a practice associated with the times and documenting "species". The photographs also have each person’s "identification number" and in reproducing them, Vernon taps into a core theme in his work – that of personal identity.

The portrait of Ah Kee’s young son sees the focus switch from an interrogation of historical representation to the continuance of an Aboriginal presence.

Ah Kee likes that his family can see themselves in his work, which he says is one of the most gratifying things about making art.

For a great interview with Vernon Ah Kee and a glimpse into how he creates the portraits and why, check out this Silver Screen Production clip on YouTube



Ngatu tā’uli - A 22 meter barkcloth

Ngatu tā’uli (Barkcloth) 2011 by Kulupu Falehanga ‘I Teleiloa
New Zealand/Tonga est. 2010

Barkcloth: hiapo (paper mulberry) with koka pigment and black synthetic polymer paint.

Whilst in Brisbane, Queensland, in December 2011 I stumbled upon this wonderful work at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMa) by accident, and without understanding its significance, was impressed by the shear scale of the piece – 22 meters long to be exact! How big is that!

The spectacular bark cloth has been created by the Kulupu Falehanga ‘i Teleiloa, in collaboration with a women’s art group from Tatakamotonga, Tonga.

The Queensland Art Gallery commissioned Tongan ngatu tā’uli (black barkcloth) as one of several major new collection acquisitions, acknowledging the importance of ngatu ta’uli as a creative process and an artwork of great significance

There are two main types of Tongan ngatu – ngatu tahini (white-marked barkcloth) and ngatu tā’uli (black-marked barkcloth). Ngatu tā’uli are regarded as ‘female’. The plaque from the museum goes on to say that the black colour is also associated with death (as well as the female gender) and often used for funeral ceremonies.

At first I was a little surprised by the association of female and death – how predictable I thought - as if all feminine traits are bad, resulting in death. But perhaps I was not thinking this through properly. Females give birth to life and part of the cycle of life is death. And death is not always about dying, but can also refer to putting things away – like in storage over winter for a modern day example - and then re-awakening in spring. I also imagine that the Tongan women are proud of their roles in the life-cycle, as I should be.