Off-white greeting card printed in brown and grey, featuring image of two people in black against a green background, wearing body paint, with panels extending above their heads forming exaggerated headdresses. The figure on the right holds a shield and drum. The image references Indigenous artwork. The headdress resembles that of a Indigenous ceremonial headdress - for example, of Mornington Island, Queensland, made from bark, human hair and feathers; or rainmaking ceremonies in Central Australia, such as those seen in the Musuem Victoria photograph XP 9298.
Made by John Rodriquez around the late 1940s, when he began a business printing cards and handkerchiefs on his kitchen table. Museum Victoria has acquired a representative sample of the card series: 0052, 0053, 0055, 0057, 0065, 0066, A0068, A0070, A0071, A0073, A0076, A0078, A0085, 0088, plus four unnumbered cards. Only card A0076 - HT 24673 - is dated on the card: 'printed 1954'.
John Rodriquez studied art and design at RMIT in the late 1940s and became well known for his screen-printed textile designs in the early 1950s. From 1950 to 1980 he was one of a handful of Australian textile designers who developed a new contemporary style with innovative use of colour. His designs in the early 1950s were mostly of Aboriginal or geometric style. Later he turned to more abstract designs in the Scandinavian style. Later still he made bold use of colour. Rodriquez introduced unique Australian styles which have been imitated often since. He always stressed the importance of innovation. Many homes in Australia and overseas still have his art works in the linen cupboard.
John Rodriquez retired in 1988, handing the Rodriquez company to his son Rimian, who has computerised the screen printing and mostly employs other designers for the products, but still uses a few of his father's most popular designs. Rodriquez passed away in 2000.
Off-white printed card, hinged at side. Printed with image of two people in black against a green background, wearing body paint, with panels extending above their heads forming exaggerated headdresses. The figure on the right holds a shield. The background is dotted with black; black lines mark out the top and bottom of the image.
See Narrative 'John Rodriquez Textile Collection'.
The significance of this object lies, in part, in its use of Aboriginal imagery. The use of Australian motifs, including Aboriginal imagery, flora and fauna, became fashionable during the 1940s and 1950s. These motifs expressed a growing sense of Australian identity while the nation was experiencing the social upheavals of war and mass migration. Many immigrant artists also began to adopt these motifs as they settled into their new country. Aboriginal imagery expressed complex attitudes to Australia's first inhabitants: as culturally interesting, representing connection to place and landscape, yet signifying a distant, pre-civilised time, in contrast to modern Australia. The fact that much of the Aboriginal imagery was appropriated without permission or compensation was far from the thoughts of most commercial artists of the time.
Donation from Ms Patricia Rodriquez, 04/2010
Place & Date Manufactured
Type of item
128 mm (Width), 149 mm (Height)