Tony Fomison

Portrait of Cassius Clay

Portrait of Cassius Clay by Tony Fomison

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Ambiguous photographs intrigued Tony Fomison, especially the ones he discovered in newspapers and magazines. This ‘portrait’ is based on one such newsphoto. It is likely that the original photograph showed Cassius Clay asleep. By enlarging a close-up of the boxer he begins to look unconscious or, even, recently deceased.

‘You cannot separate life from death – that is what’s wrong with a lot of painting…The ecstasy of life comes from the knowledge of death…Death is going to get you. The idea is to love life and not be scared of death.’

Tony Fomison

(Self and Other, 2003)

Portrait of Cassius Clay
Production date
enamel on hessian
766 x 790 x 60 mm
enamel (u.l.) "from photo of Cassius Clay"; (u.r.) "Fomison Jan Feb 1972"
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1993
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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