AFL match, Sydney Cricket Ground from the series Leisureland

Anne Zahalka1999

Ian Potter Museum of Art

Ian Potter Museum of Art
Parkville VIC, Australia

Anne Zahalka’s photographs, selections from a large series titled Leisureland (1999) hint at the curious meeting of visceral physical activity and theatrical artifice in sport. The sporting pavilion is like a stage, with all the trappings of a theatrical production; dramatic lighting, sound effects, costumes and even a script in some cases. The performers in this theatre are not always the athletes; Zahalka shows that the spectators themselves are eager to don costumes and strut their stuff on the stage. And the script can vary significantly, ranging from the complex orchestration of an AFL blockbuster through to the barely controlled mayhem of fun runs and ocean swimming races. Zahalka unearths a generality in Australian sport that ranges from Shakespeare (‘All the world’s a stage ...’) to Huizinga (‘Play is not “ordinary” or “real” life’). The striking thing is that Australians have so comfortably and consistently made sport, this unreal and theatrical activity, such a concrete aspect of both daily experience and national consciousness.


  • Title: AFL match, Sydney Cricket Ground from the series Leisureland
  • Creator: Anne Zahalka, Sound produced by Andrew Plain of Huzzah Sound
  • Date Created: 1999
  • Physical Dimensions: 115 x 200 cm
  • Rights: Courtesy the artist; Arc One Gallery, Melbourne; and Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney
  • Medium: type C print with sound

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