Tony Albert (NSW)


Tony Albert’s House of Discards (2019) is an artwork made using supersized playing cards. In previous works, Tony Albert has used "Aboriginalia", kitsch ornaments and objects with racist mid-century depictions of First Nations people. For this work, he collected and redacted them on the supersized playing cards, and presents the cards as a minimalist black-and-white house of cards, set to topple at any moment. The cards are back-to-back; they literally don’t see eye-to-eye. House of Discards is an opportunity to consider histories of the past, allowing stolen stories to play a part.

Inquiry questions

  • Take your time to look at the artwork. What do you see? 
  • What do you find most interesting about the artwork? Why?
  • In the title of this work, Tony Albert adds the prefix 'dis' to change the word cards into discards. What does the prefix 'dis' mean? What kind of things get discarded? Why might he have chosen to add 'dis'?
  • Tony Albert used supersized playing cards in his work. How does the scale of the artwork make you feel?

Creative learning activity

You will need

  • Markers or pencils
  • Paper


  1. Sitting back-to-back, one person tells a story while the other person draws it.
  2. If you are the person drawing, use scale to highlight important elements or minimise less important elements.
  3. Draw key elements in a large scale, and less important elements in a small scale (or omit them completely).
  4. Go back and enlarge elements of the drawing if needed.
  5. Show the picture to the person who told the story.
  6. Discuss the picture. Does the story teller feel that their story has been presented accurately?
  7. Swap roles and repeat the activity.



  • When looking at the drawn version of your story, did you think it was an accurate depiction of your story? Why or why not?
  • What did the drawn version of your story reveal to you about how your story was interpreted or understood?
  • If you were to do the activity again, do you think you would tell the story in the same way, or differently?
  • How did you decide what elements were important when drawing the story that you were listening to?