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Cathy Freeman Theme: At Ease

Artist: David CALLOW
Birth/Death: 1958

Title: Cathy Freeman

Credit Line: Courtesy of SPORT, The library

Photojournalist David Callow’s photograph of Cathy Freeman’s triumphant moment at the 1994 Commonwealth Games has become an iconic image for our times. Elevated from the purely documentary, this photograph has assumed the status of a work of art not only because it captured a defining moment in Australian history but also because the composition has an enduring elegance.

Freeman is caught stretching upward, the sense of movement extended by the curving track and the billowing flag. The photograph has captured a moment of victory and a moment of reflection.

Freeman carried the Aboriginal flag as she took a lap of honour after winning the 400 metres. Questions were asked in Parliament about her action and Freeman was criticised by the then head of the Australian Commonwealth team.

While she appears young and tender, she was illustrating the beliefs she had already expressed at the 1990 Commonwealth Games when she had said:

‘Being Aboriginal means everything to me. I feel for my people all the time. A lot of my friends have the talent but lack the opportunity’.

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