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Barbara Hanrahan Boy and Girl

The  Artist

Barbara Janice Hanrahan (1939-1991), writer and artist, was born on 6 September 1939 in Adelaide, only child of South Australian-born William Maurice (Bob) Hanrahan (d. 1940), labourer, and his wife Rhonda (Ronda) Gwenlythian, née Goodridge, commercial artist.

Barbara was raised by her mother, her grandmother Iris Goodridge, and her great-aunt Reece Nobes in the working-class suburb of Thebarton. She was educated at Thebarton Technical School, Adelaide Teachers’ College, and the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts (later the South Australian School of Art).

The death of her grandmother in 1968 prompted nostalgia for her Adelaide childhood, resulting in the memoir The Scent of Eucalyptus (1973)

Happiest when making prints, she created more than 400 works, which are held in most major Australian galleries. The Barbara Hanrahan Fellowship for South Australian writers was established in her memory and a building at the University of South Australia’s City West Campus was named after her.

Boy and Girl by Barbara Hanrahan

The Work of Art

Barbara Hanrahan is known particularly for her black and white prints that often depict people, animals and some religious scenes. This work of art, a lino-cut print for inclusion  in the Land portfolio,  is just such an image. It is somewhat childlike; the children are shown with rosy cheeks in a simplistic manner.  The children could be walking towards us from a garden as  the family cat is shown behind the two figures having disturbed some birds.  Like  some of Barbara's other prints,  her linocut works are reminiscent of early 16th and 17th Century woodcut images. The images were meant to distill objects they were depicting to the basic  essence. Much like the woodcuts, the image was created from a single linocut template.

Barbara Hanrahan  Autumn 1990 Barbara Hanrahan, Girls at Play 1988