Scott McDougall

Signs of Life

These new paintings are a collection of small stories of comings and goings and new directions – moving on in life and the taking of new paths towards the unknown. I am  fascinated with the dislocation of European architecture to foreign lands such as Cuba. There is a distinct contrast between the grand facades of the buildings and the humble nature of the people who live within.

Cuba’s iconic propaganda billboards that once dominated the landscape are fast disappearing both through neglect and the changing priorities of a new regime. Despite this, daily life continues amidst the promise of an exciting and boundless future.

The weather-worn houses and buildings in the Cuban landscape have been left exposed to the harsh elements of the tropics and families make do with little money and no access to new materials for the most basic of repairs. Through the open doorways of once grand but now crumbling buildings, you can witness unexpected signs of everyday family life.

After almost 60 years of an economic embargo on trade and travel, in December 2014, President Obama announced that it was time to “cut loose the shackles of the past,” inaugurating a fundamental change in relations between the United States and Cuba. (Whether the Trump administration intends to roll back theses changes is still unknown).

The opening up of the country to tourism immediately saw the emergence of Cuba as a travel destination for all. This brought with it a fresh optimism for the people and the prospect of an easier life.

As an artist there is the fear that what made Cuba unique, its  colours and textures, crumbling render, faded pigments, verdigris, scrapes and scratches –  the buildings scar tissue that stand witness to moments in time and history, may be lost in the rush towards the future. I hope with this body of work, I have captured a moment in time.


Scott McDougall is contemporary realist painter, Queensland born and educated, with diplomas in both Art Teaching and Fine Arts. He relocated to Sydney to persue his painting career and has held over 30 solo exhibitions across Australia and overseas. Scott has travelled extensively from Europe to South America, and across South East Asia, finding inspiration for his paintings and is well represented in both private and corporate collections here and internationally. He has been a finalist in both the Sulman and Wynne Prizes as well as many other national art prizes. He recently moved to  northern NSW where he built a new house and dedicated painting studio which has inspirational views across the caldera towards Mt Warning.

Art Atrium Exhibition Opening – Scott McDougall – Signs of Life