The Seven Deadly Isms

© Susan Dorothea White

The Seven Deadly Isms, 1992
acrylic on wooden tabletop
dia. 122 cm

Each ism has its own deadly Australian creature. In Dogmatism, a crocodile is about to snap up the missionary. Dogmatism merges into Racism, where my Aboriginal friend is taken away from her mother, forever. The deadly sea wasp (box jellyfish) hovers illogically in the sky near a youth, who is hanging from a rope, representing the tragic Aboriginal deaths in custody. A shark seemed appropriate for Materialism, and a blue-ringed octopus complements the oil slick in environmental Vandalism.

The colours of the red-back spider fitted Fascism. In Sexism, women struggle to unroll a giant scroll listing names of famous women, while I am painting a deadly taipan. Marilyn Monroe bearing the cross symbolises the suffering of women as sex objects. Indifferentism shows people oblivious to the suffering around them; the funnel web spider seemed appropriate since it lurks in our comfortable suburbs.

- Susan Dorothea White

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