2022 Daphne Mayo Public Lecture


To honour and commemorate the life of one of Queensland’s most prominent artists and arts educators, the School of Communication and Arts at The University of Queensland, has established the Daphne Mayo Visiting Professorship in Visual Culture. The Visiting Professorship is now a catalyst for dialogue and debate not only about art but also about art museums and galleries and art collecting and appreciation in the State. Each year, a major world figure will visit Brisbane to speak about the latest trends, influences, and theories in their area of visual culture. 

Daphne Mayo (1895-1982) was for much of her life Queensland’s best known artist and passionate advocate for the arts. Her work includes the Tympanum on the Brisbane City Hall and the Women’s War Memorial in Anzac Square. She was a trustee of the Queensland Art Gallery 1960–1967, established an art reference library now at The University of Queensland, and left her private papers to UQ’s Fryer Library.


In a very intelligent act of curation, the final wall of the 2020 Queensland Art Gallery exhibition Unfinished Business: The Art of Gordon Bennett ended with a blown-up and slightly abbreviated version of a notebook entry Bennett had originally made on 25 August 1990. Down the wall ran the statements “I am Gordon Bennett”, “I am Australian”, “I am Aboriginal”, “I am Human Being” and “I am Spirit”, all crossed out with a line through them, followed by a final “I am” uncrossed out and the artist’s initials again crossed out and the date of the original notebook entry.

In a sense, of course, the wall operated as the artist’s signature authenticating the show we had just seen before we left it, but how is it also an explanation of Bennett’s artistic practice altogether? Does that final “I am” stand outside of the failure of those previous attempted statements of identity or is it inseparable from it? Is Bennett suggesting that the subject is always this crossing-out or correction, indeed, this self-crossing out and -correction? Are we not all made up of opposites that we must attempt to reconcile, like “Aboriginal” and “Australian” and “Human Being” and “Spirit”? Are we not all divided in that way Bennett points out? And is it not perhaps in this self-division that we are all ultimately the same?

Rex Butler

Event Details

Event Date: Thursday 25 August 2022

Event Time: 5.45pm for a 6pm start 

Event Location: May Hancock Auditorium, The Women's College, College Road, The University of Queensland St Lucia Campus. 

RSVP: Thursday 18 August 2022




Rex Butler is a renowned art historian, writer and Professor (Art History & Theory).

His research interests include Australian art and art criticism, Post-War American art and Critical Theory. He has recently completed a book, UnAustralian Art, with ADS Donaldson, to be published by Power Publishing, University of Sydney, and another, Stanley Cavell and the Arts, for Bloomsbury Publishing, London. He is currently editing two collections, one on the Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo and another on the documentary film-maker Joshua Oppenheimer.

He is the author or editor of eleven books, including What is Appropriation?(1996), Jean Baudrillard: The Defence of the Real (1999), A Secret History of Australian Art (2002), Slavoj Zizek: Live Theory (2005), Radical Revisionism (2005), Borges' Short Stories: A Reader's Guide (2010) and Deleuze and Guattari's What is Philosophy?: A Reader's Guide (2015).

Campus Accessibility

The UQ St Lucia campus is accessible via various forms of personal and public transport. In line with our efforts to promote environmental sustainability, here are a few eco-friendly ways to travel to the event:

​Health and safety information

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Please do not attend the event if:

  • You have been in close contact with a person who is positive for COVID-19
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The School is proud to be running a UQ Unwrapped Sustainable Event. 




Daphne Mayo Public Lecture 2022

Thu 25 Aug 2022 6:00pm8:30pm