The tyranny II

Born Victoria, Australia 1954


Deborah Walker studied Fine Arts at the Caulfield Institute of Technology (1974) and the Victorian College of the Arts (1980). Her paintings incorporate psychological, spiritual and dramatic sensibilities and often have a dream-like quality.

The tyranny II strongly references Las Meninas, a 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez which depicts the Spanish court, and raises questions about reality and illusion. Walker’s composition loosely reproduces the spatial structure of the Velázquez work, substituting headless mannequins for the young Infanta Margarita and one of her maids of honour, using the narrative inherent in the original work to comment on the power structures impacting on women in contemporary society.

The tyranny II also reflects her interest in the work of early twentieth century Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico, and from a feminist perspective, references characteristic de Chirico tropes such as the mannequin, shadows and the claustrophobic representation of space. Walker places the role of the artist, as well as the female, under scrutiny.

Walker works extensively as a printmaker and painter and has been exhibited throughout Australia. Her work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and several state and regional galleries.