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Donald Friend

Donald Friend was born in Sydney in 1915. Friend was a student of the Royal Art School and a member of the Sydney Charm School. Donald Friend has been considered one of the finest draftsmen of the human figure that Australia has ever produced. Much of Friend’s life and career was spent outside Australia, in Nigeria, Italy, Sri Lanka and Bali. A major influence on his life’s work was the period spent in Bali between 1966 and 1979, where he steeped himself in the local culture and played host to an extravagant and hedonistic lifestyle producing a large volume of work that documented this period. Friend made no attempt to disguise the homoeroticism that underlay much of his work. His sketches represent a series of relationships with adolescent boys, some of whom remained as life-long friends. Friend’s work mostly comprises of works on paper using only pen and ink. He did paint with oils at certain periods; however these allow only a fraction of his life’s work. Friend’s artistic style reflected his character, which at times was satirical, erotic and often gregarious.