The Race That Stops a Nation

garry-shead-before-the-start-1989Above: “Before the Start” (1989)

“It was a fast week a hectic week,
And in Flemington they ran a race.
The punters rallied and partied hard,
And somehow lost the pace.
But now as the dust settles on the track.
The roses faded to dust.
The winner counts the winnings,
And the losers slouch home bust.
To all of you who had a wager,
I hope it was successful.
But to those like me with purses shut
Their gains are most regretful!”

“The race that stops a nation”is the annual horse racing event – “The Melbourne Cup” which is held on the first Tuesday of November, at Flemington Race Course in Melbourne, Victoria. It is the most prestigious of horse-racing events to be held ‘DownUnder’ and has become a major international event with a world-wide selection of horses brought to Flemington to vie for the Melbourne Cup. This year there was a great nail-biter of a finish and therefore, what better time to introduce you to a great Australian artist, who has painted this appropriate title “Before the Start”, as pictured above, which could be based on this event.

Garry Shead was born in Sydney in 1942. During his childhood he had many influencers such as his uncle the winemaker Maurice O’Shea and his friends who included the prominent artist, William Dobell. One of his fondest childhood memories is when he was awarded the Argonauts’ Art Prize – the judge was Jeffrey Smart. 

  • In 1961 Shead gained admission to the National Art School in Sydney and his painting of his sister Lynne was accepted and hung in the Archibald Prize exhibition, at 19, making him one of the youngest Archibald exhibitors ever. Simultaneously he commenced work as a cartoonist for a number of magazines including The Bulletin.

Shead held his first solo exhibition in July 1966 at Frank Watters Gallery in Sydney. He has subsequently had over 45 solo exhibitions and has participated in over 200 group exhibitions.

For the sweep I got “NotWorthTwoBob”
However, my monies on: “Old Carpet” – Never Been Beatin’

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