Menzies Art Brands



In FTW (after Sam Bull Hall) 2006, 27 painted parrots are framed or caged within the letters F, T and W, an abbreviation of the nihilistic expression Fuck the world, commonly tattooed on the necks and inside the lips of prison inmates. The brilliance of the birds plumage diminishes in the last frame, where the final five birds are barely visible. The subtitle of the painting, after Sam Bull Hall, is a tribute to Sam Hall, a school friend of Quiltys known among his mates as Bull, whose experiments with drugs at times have placed him perilously close to his own extinction. Bulls disappearing act echoes that of the bird, but Quilty is not exempt from such an act of annihilation he sees himself implicated in a decline of the species that has left men washed up and hopeless. FTW (after Sam Bull Hall) becomes a eulogy and a warning for himself as well as his mates.

Slade, L., Ben Quilty: We Are History, in Ben Quilty, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane, 2009, p.24

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