Explanation of the key visual
This key visual is a work by Ken Done, an artist who is popular both in Japan and Australia. It conveys the vision of “Japanaroo”. Ken Done’s design is powerful and optimistic, reflecting the spirit of cooperation between Japan and Australia.
Message from Ken Done
“These two symbols represent our two countries – iconic shapes that remind us of the deep and important ties and friendship between our two nations. The word Japanaroo is a wonderful way to symbolise this union.” Ken Done, 2022
Since his first visit to Japan in 1962, Ken’s work has been energised by his understanding of contemporary and traditional Japanese art and poetry. His paintings have fascinated and delighted Japanese audiences since his first solo exhibition in Japan in 1986.
KEN DONE AM F.D.I.A.(Hon) Hon B.des
Since his first solo exhibition in 1980, Ken Done has become one of Australia’s most famous artists. His work has been described as the most original style to come out of Australia, and his paintings are in collections throughout the world.
Born in 1940, in Sydney, Ken left school at 14 to enter the National Art School in East Sydney. After 5 years study, he commenced a highly successful career as an art director and designer in New York, London and Sydney. At the age of 40, after painting for many years, he gave up his advertising career to become a painter full-time. Since then, he has held over 100 one-man shows, including major exhibitions in Australia, Europe, Japan and the USA, and his works have been shown in the Archibald, Sulman, Wynne, Blake, and Dobell Prizes.
Major projects in a very diverse career include the painting of a BMW Artcar, the cover of Japanese magazine Hanako for over 15 years, a series of works for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies programs of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and the total decorative scheme for the Garden Restaurant at the Powerhouse Museum, in Sydney. In 1994, a major retrospective of Ken Done’s work “Ken Done: the art of design” was mounted by the Powerhouse Museum and in 2002 the Museum acquired his commercial art and design archive of more than 300 items.
Ken’s paintings have become the creative source of a unique, and very successful Australian business which continues to promote Australian art and design to a world-wide audience. In 1993, Ken, together with his fashion-designer wife Judy, won the Fashion Industries of Australia’s Grand Award for Fashion.
Although he has worked extensively for many charitable organisations, the welfare of underprivileged children has always been a special concern of Ken’s. Father of the Year in 1989, Ken Done has been an Australian Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 1988.
In 1992, Ken received the Order of Australia (A.M.), for services to Art, Design and Tourism. In many parts of the world, Ken Done has come to symbolise Australia and Australians: creative, optimistic and bold.