The Profilist: The notebooks of Ethan Dibble

Adrian Mitchell

The Profilist: The notebooks of Ethan Dibble
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The Profilist: The notebooks of Ethan Dibble

Adrian Mitchell

There were likely to be deserts enough for Goliath to feel quite at home, he said. But that gave rise to a puzzle as to why we would want to go exploring there. Never mind. My task was to record what we saw.

By his training as a profilist - a silhouette painter - Ethan Dibble has learned to take a sidelong view of life. When he arrives in early colonial South Australia he has no idea of what to expect; but with his knack for observation and detachment, and a wry sense of humour, he finds that the variety of activity and events provides colour in plenty. There is no black and white here. First Adelaide, then the Victorian goldfields, then Sydney and Melbourne attract his wandering attentiveness.

In The Profilist, Adrian Mitchell paints a compelling picture of the early years of the Australian colonies, in the imagined voice of the artist Samuel Thomas Gill - or someone very like him.

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