House debates

Tuesday, 23 May 2023


Olsen, Mr John Henry, AO, OBE

6:22 pm

Photo of Allegra SpenderAllegra Spender (Wentworth, Independent) Share this | Hansard source

I would like to reflect on the passing of John Olsen AO OBE and the immense contribution he made to Australia's cultural landscape over more than 70 years. Much has been written about John during his lifetime and since his passing because he made such a significant impact on Australia's cultural world. A man of contradictions, John is known both for his larger-than-life personality, his joie de vivre, his charisma and curiosity, as well as his deep contemplation and introspection. His art too, while consistently delicate, sensual and poetic, could capture the dualities at the high-energy teaming landscapes at time and then the vast desolate open plans of deserts at others.

I am very lucky to have the loan of two of his landscapes in my office, Night Bird and Earth Hold, and they are distinctively Olsen—lyrical, natural and quintessentially Australian.

John's talent and lifelong quest to create are hallmarks of his life. He continued producing work right to the end. My sincere condolences to his children, Tim and Louise, and to his grandchildren, to whom John passes the genes of creativity—much valued in my electorate of Wentworth.


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