Graham Lang was born in Zimbabwe and migrated to Australia in 1990. An MFA graduate from Rhodes University, South Africa, he also holds a PhD from the University of Newcastle where he taught art for twenty years before moving to Tasmania in 2011. His career as a painter and sculptor spans four decades during which he has exhibited extensively in Australia and overseas and taken up several artist residencies, including two at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop. His art is essentially biographical in its attempt to evoke both the external and internal realities of place and being. Much of his early practice reflects the political and existential anguish of post-colonial southern Africa; similarly, the broad-ranging work produced during his time in Newcastle centres most prominently on themes relating to migration, identity and cultural dislocation. Since leaving academe, his art has tended toward a more intuitive approach, exploring a diverse array of subjects, many derived from his literary interests.
Graham has also forged a significant career as a writer, exploring associated themes of land and identity in three novels, Clouds like Black Dogs (2003), Place of Birth (2006) and Lettah’s Gift (2011). His novella, A Fulcrum of Infinities, won the prestigious annual Griffith Review Novella Competition in 2016.
“My work owes much to raw impulse. More often than not a painting is started with an idea in mind only to see the paint steer me to those far more interesting revelations that emerge when memory, intuition and technique randomly collide. Never far from mind when I work is the Surrealist notion of the ‘marvellous’ whereby sudden and seemingly coincidental accidents or juxtapositions can activate powerful new associations. Thus, strange appositions tend to frequent my paintings, perhaps most starkly in animal surrogates which suggest the bewildering complexity of opposites that constitute self.”