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Revealing SA’s fertile art tradition

Adam Dutkiewicz at a launch of a second book in a series on Alexander Sadlo. Photo by Ben Loveday.A love of South Australian art has seen UniSA PhD graduate Adam Dutkiewicz start his own publishing company in a quest to showcase local artists’ work.

Moon Arrow Press was born in 2006 after Dr Dutkiewicz completed a UniSA doctorate in Art History and Theory in 2001, focusing on post-war migrant artists in Australia and their role in the development of progressive forms in painting.

"The idea was to bring these people back into focus in the art culture and for the record," he said. "A lot of what I did told of the difficulties of their migration and adaptation to Australian conditions, and the political and social context in the decade after World War Two."

Dr Dutkiewicz said he decided to further the work his PhD began, which led to Moon Arrow Press being established.

"I followed through on my PhD subject, fleshing out profiles of some of the artists into artist’s monographs," he said.

"At the same time, I was frustrated that good South Australian artists, particularly of the post-war generation, were falling into obscurity. Combined with my lasting interest in Australian fiction, this led to Moon Arrow Press being born.

"The aim is to reveal the fertile tradition of art in South Australia, which historically has fallen in the shadow of the larger eastern states.

"The PhD gave me the research skills and belief that I could achieve my task of opening up a publishing house."

Dr Dutkiewicz first studied at UniSA in the 1980s, undertaking a Bachelor of Communications Studies. After graduating he did various jobs, painted and wrote before returning to UniSA in the early 1990s to undertake his Honours.

After this Dr Dutkiewicz held a major solo exhibition and was selected President of the Royal SA Society of Arts. During his two years in that position he curated many exhibitions.

Since opening Moon Arrow, he has been too busy to paint but hopes to get back to it soon. Being an artist runs strongly in his family.

"My father, Wlad, and two uncles were artists – Jan in Poland, and Ludwik was a botanical artist in Adelaide at the State Herbarium for 30 years as well as a painter," he said.

"My brother Michal is a commercial artist and illustrator of Batman and Wolverine comics and one of my three sisters, Ursula, is a ceramic artist in Melbourne."

Dr Dutkiewicz said there has been a good online response to Moon Arrow Press.

"There is a limited audience for books on somewhat obscure South Australian art and distribution is difficult," he said. "But the people who know about the books love them."

Moon Arrow Press publishes once or twice a year on Australian modern and contemporary art.