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Ante Dabro, Untitled Drawings

Ante Dabro, Drawings

Ante Dabro courtesy of Alchetron

The Artist

Ante Dabro was born in Croatia in 1938 and studied at the Zagreb Academy of Fine Art graduating in 1966.1 A year later, Dabro emigrated to Australia with a reputation as a promising sculptor. Today, Canberrans are familiar with Dabro’s works especially his public sculptures such as the Royal Australian Navy Memorial on ANZAC Parade and ‘Suzanne’ at Canberra Airport.2 Ante moved to Canberra in 1969, teaching firstly at the Canberra Technical College and then at the Australian National University School of art until 2004.3 In a long and distinguished teaching career, Ante has contributed enormously to the development of generations of aspiring artists. But his reach extends to the cultural landscape of the capital thanks to his many commissions. His powerful, yet beautiful, figures enrich the lives of the many people who see his work every day.

Ante Dabro's works are represented in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG), The Australian War Memorial, The Navy Memorial, Anzac Parade, The ANU, Canberra Airport and internationally in Paris.  Dabro has won numerous awards including the Churchill Fellowship in 1982 (for a study tour of the United States and Europe).5   Ante was also awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2012.6

Refugees by Ante Dabro Untitled by Ante Dabro

The Works of art

Ante Drabro's drawings show a range of forms and styles. 'Refugees' shows a group of figures created in charcoal and crayon . The forms are huddled in close exhibiting a sense of human suffering. Also note the details such as the hands and the two faces. Form and details are also represented in an untitled drawing of two figures sitting closely in a rectangular frame. Here the focus is on the forms of the body around the shapes. Again in two other untitled drawings, we find various  human forms in a range of positions in closeness to each other. Both studies, in pastel, convey a good deal of movement and Dabro's interest in how the human form moves. These studies also in their own way contribute to the untitled form of the 'Reclining Figure' in bronze located in the northern concourse. These works were created between 1971 and 1973.

Untitled by Ante Dabro Ante Dabro Untitled Drawing 2

One interesting analogy that can be made with the Refugees drawing is the way in which the central figure is holding her child. To me, this is reminiscent of the Madonna and Child. In another similarity, both were refugees as Mary, Jesus and Joseph fled to Egypt to escape the edicts of Herod the Great.

Raphael's Sistine Madonna


1 Alan & Susan McCulloch The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Allen and Unwin, St Leonards, 1994. p199






Alan & Susan McCulloch The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Allen and Unwin 1994. Sydney