HEART OF GOLD : PAMELA ZEPLIN
Adelaide may never be the same without Pamela Zeplin but heaven just got a hell of a lot more interesting ! When Pam left us last Friday she also left an extraordinary legacy that today, reaches far beyond the city limits. It’s hard to know where to begin … but firstly, she paid no mind to limits. Pam has been Senior Lecturer, School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of South Australia around 30 years and while the school may have had many “makeovers” (for better or worse), Pam changed for no one. She has been a powerful influence on her students, some might say a bad influence … but there was none better equipped to lead us “astray” … with that characteristic Zeplin flair. Pam had zero time for art world pomposity and delighted in taking the piss. With a keen eye for the idiosyncratic, she was a left-of-field thinker and writer of unusual depth and lucidity.
Pam’s brilliant career was coloured with many moments of biting satire and a wicked sense of humor. If you were lucky enough to be enrolled in Pam’s classes she might talk about the Surrealists or Situationists one day; and anything from lion taming and flight to lingerie the next. Outside the classroom she could be a demanding friend for whom the absurd was less theatre and more a lifestyle choice. One might find oneself meeting the Pope in the regalia of the Spanish inquisition, hatching an elaborate hoax or painting acerbic graffiti late at night on the venue of some charismatic Christian convention. For Pam, protest and performance were one and the same spectacle. An Aussie legend who never followed the script, Pam’s guidance often amounted to a wild ride. Her antidote for mediocrity was to throw caution to the wind and thus she encouraged a rigorous sense of the ridiculous …. just when you thought you knew your cues the plot was lost.
Pam was a highly engaged academic: an enthusiastic advocate for women and artists of the Asia / Pacific Region. And that’s just for starters. She took an active, genuine interest in the work of Australian artists. Many have benefitted from her vast knowledge and an uncanny ability to recognise and develop the unique talents of each individual. Pam gave us, her students, permission to take risks, to mistrust convention and excel without compromise.
Our thoughts are with Pam’s family, her many, many, friends, and students, who will be feeling a sense of great loss.
Naturally Pam has regularly graced the Social Pages and here are a few favourite pics. David Broker