Drew Pettifer

A Sorrowful Act: The Wreck of the Zeewijk

29 August – 5 December 2020

A Sorrowful Act: The Wreck of the Zeewijk derives from a broader investigation within Drew Pettifer's work to unearth hidden queer histories through archival art practices.

The exhibition focuses on the first recorded moment in (European) queer history in Australia: a sodomy trial following the wreck of the Dutch ship the Zeewijk in 1727 where two young men were sentenced to death by marooning.

Through photographs, video, audio and installation, this exhibition recontextualises social histories to help us rethink our present.


Drew Pettifer


LWAG Director, Professor Ted Snell AM CitWA


Featuring images and an introductory essay by Ted Snell
Online download: A Sorrowful Act digital publication (2MB)

Exhibition Catalogue

Featuring photographs of the exhibition and new texts by Former High Court Justice, the Hon Michael Kirby, Professor Dennis Altman and the Curator of the Dutch Maritime Museum

$45.00 | hardcover | 139 pp | available for purchase at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery or on the LWAG online shop

Two vertical video stills of young men, naked from the waist up, and staring directly at the camera.

Left: Drew Pettifer, Untitled (Bram), 2019-2020, video still, courtesy the artist.
Right: Drew Pettifer, Untitled (Roel), 2019-2020, video still, courtesy the artist. 

Exhibitions Preview

Preview of 2020 LWAG exhibitions (Un)ladylike Acts, HERE&NOW20: Perfectly Queer and Drew Pettifer: A Sorrowful Act. Video by Levi Williams.

Sponsorship logos

A Sorrowful Act: The Wreck of the Zeewijk has been supported by Perth Institute for Contemporary Arts, Australia Council for the Arts, Kingdom of the Netherlands, RMIT University and the City of Melbourne.

Header image: Drew Pettifer, Untitled (Half-Moon Reef #2) (detail), 2019, chromogenic print, 27.6 x 38.2 cm, courtesy the artist.

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