Sam Cranstoun (QLD)


Sam Cranstoun’s large-scale text sculpture Utopia examines the idea of Australia as a modern paradise. By exploring the failed experiences of Dr Constantinos Doxiadis (1913–1975) Cranstoun is able to draw parallels and between fact and fantasy. Cranstoun’s Utopia is a visual reference to another Australian artist, Ken Done, whose monumental AUSTRALIA sign marked the entrance to Brisbane’s World Expo 1988. Done’s sunny depictions of Sydney Harbour and the Great Barrier Reef became synonymous with the fantasy of Australia as a modern paradise.

Inquiry questions

  • Look at the artwork for a moment. What do you feel? Which colours do you see?
  • The word utopia was coined from the Greek words "ou" meaning “not", and "topos" meaning “place”. It is also a pun of a similar word "eu-topos" that means "good place". A utopia is an imaginary place where everything there is perfect. What does your utopia look like?
  • Australia is often referred to as the “lucky country”. What does it mean for you to be “lucky” in Australia?

Creative learning activity

You will need

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Old magazines, newspapers or catalogues


  1. Brainstorm what your ideal world or utopia would look like.
  2. Cut out images and words from old magazines, newspapers and catalogues that represent your idea of utopia.
  3. Create a collage from the images and words. 
  4. Have a look at other utopias in your class. Which ones would you like to live in? Which ones would you not like to live in?



  • What do you think it would be like to migrate to someone else’s utopia? What adjustments might you have to make to live there?

  • Do you think that there could be one universal utopia? Why or why not?