News and Editorial


The Akram Khan Company will present the inaugural performance of its new production Outwitting the Devil at COLOURS International Dance Festival in Stuttgart, 13-14 July 2019.

Akram Khan, the multi award-winning choreographer and dancer, is to open his new production ‘Outwitting the Devil’ in Stuttgart in July 2019. Khan’s inspiration for Outwitting the Devil came from Leonardo da Vinci’s mural ‘The Last Supper’,depicting the final meal that, in Gospel accounts, Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. Khan recalls studying the painting as a small child at school and feeling unable to see himself reflected in it. Later in life heencountered the radical reinterpretation of the work, ‘The First Supper’ by Australian artist Susan Dorothea White, portraying 13 women from around the world. The figure in the position of Leonardo’s Christ is an Aboriginal woman, and Judas is the only white woman in the painting. This inspired him to create a piece challenging and redefining this oldest of
human rituals, the coming together to share food in a time of limited resources.
Akram Khan wrote (August 2018):  “As I arrive at the end of my dancing career, I have awakened to a new way of dancing. And that is to dance my ideas through the bodies of others, including older dancers, who carry their histories and complex emotional experiences within them. One of the seeds of inspiration for Outwitting the Devil is Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic mural of The Last Supper. This image has haunted me since I first laid eyes on it as a child.

As a young British Bangladeshi boy growing up in South London, I remember seeing The Last Supper on a printed A4 page
in my art class. I was told it was one of the most famous paintings in the world, and was asked to draw my own version of it.
I now realise that at the time I was uncomfortable and confused by the depiction. I could not see anything of myself in it, or of the culture and religion I grew up in. It was foreign to me. Or perhaps, I was foreign to it. It did not reflect me, or the
people in my street – who came from many different cultures – in any way I could relate to.
Many years later, I stumbled across another version, The First Supper by Susan Dorothea White. This radical interpretation astonished me, and gave me permission to free myself from the classical version. And in this new, anti-colonial depiction, I recognised an artist’s journey and challenge to convention which was parallel to my own. Ever since I entered the classical Indian dance world, I have been searching for a way out…. or perhaps more truly, I was searching for a new way in.


An exhibition of contemporary Australian sculptures on public view at the historic Finger Wharf, Woolloomooloo, from November 2018 to March 2019.  Further details: ARTPARK 

Stretching the Imagination, cast bronze on granite base

SCULPTURES at BAYSIDE: Finalist , 2018

Finalist in Sculptures at Bayside White exhibited her large bronze Stretching the imagination at Cook Park, Kyeemagh, during the Bayside Arts Festival, 2018.

Stretching the imagination

Stretching the imagination


Stretching the imagination - detail


Susan Dorothea White was awarded the Tracey Dixon First Prize Inside for her sculpture To cut both ways at HarbourSculpture 2017, Sydney.

Two other sculptures by White Lost for words and Measure for measure were also selected for this exhibition.


To cut both ways

Susan D White

ARTVOICES: Feature Article Winter 2014

ARTVOICES, 2014 (front cover)

Feature article on White’s work by Susan Kendzulak in ARTVOICES, 2014 (Winter issue)

“Reviewing her paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures is like looking at a visual diary of her life...” 

Click here to download article PDF

WORKSHOPS: Anatomy Drawing

Drawing the bow - Muscle action of an archer, anterior view


International Embryology Conference for Osteopaths, Guild Hall, Bath, UK, Feb. 2012. Insights – How visual art helps us to understand the human body.  

With pencil and sketchbook in hand, each participant learnt to draw the human form while experiencing a journey through art history. White analysed artworks from prehistoric times to the present, revealing the insight of artists about the human body. Her interactive presentation was followed by a one-day drawing workshop.


Department of Anatomy, School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2000–2007.  Step into Leonardo’s Shoes… Public Workshops in Anatomy Drawing.

White co-established workshops in anatomy drawing, which were held in the Anatomy Laboratory and gave the public an opportunity for studying and drawing actual anatomical specimens under the guidance of the artist and an anatomy professor.  Workshops were run for 5 days during university vacations and on weekends.

Click here to download PDF: P. Karvelas, 'Drawn and quartered' The Australian – Higher Education (2003)


National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Feb. 2002.  Rodin Anatomy Drawing Program

White co-conducted a drawing workshop with an anatomy lecturer in conjunction with the NGA exhibition Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession (Dec. 2001 to Feb. 2002).  The workshop gave the public an opportunity to draw Rodin’s sculptures while learning about the underlying anatomy.


See anatomy drawings   

VENICE: Sapere Aude – Circuito Off , 2013

White showed two sculptures and a painting in a curated exhibition Sapere Aude - Circuito Off during the opening month of the 55th Venice Biennale, June 2013.

Miguel Angel Cuevas (Univ. Seville) curated the exhibition, held at Palazzo Ca' Zanardi.
White exhibited: Lost for Words, Measure for Measure, and The Anatomy lesson of Dr Freeman.

The anatomy lesson of Dr Freeman

BOOK: Draw Like Da Vinci

Cassell, 2006

Written and illustrated by Susan Dorothea White; published by Cassell Illustrated, Masterclass Series, 2006 (ISBN-13: 978-1-844034-44-4. ISBN-10: 1-844034-44-5).  Also published in French (Eyrolles, 2007), Danish (Bonniers, 2006), and Hungarian (Ventus, 2006).

News - Dessiner... News - Laer et... News - rajzoljunk...
Eyrolles, 2007 Bonniers, 2006 Ventus, 2006


"Leonardo himself recommended that students study and copy the works of the masters. With this book, you can do just that!"

"... Leonardo Da Vinci's drawings are among the most magnificent ever created. But how did he achieve his effects? Choose his materials? Define his approach? Susan Dorothea White, an internationally known artist and teacher, helps students gain an invaluable understanding of Da Vinci's techniques for depicting the human form and dealing with perspective, line weight, light, shade, and character..." Cassell Illustrated

The basic principles of drawing are explained through Leonardo's art.  White analyses the fundamentals into seven Ps of drawing – Perspective, Proportion, Perception, Position, Placement, Planes, Priority.  Illustrated with over 100 of her drawings, the book contains exercises on different drawing techniques, including goldpoint and chalk on emery paper.  Being a left-hander helped White decipher Leonardo's technique.

See Book Reviews

PROVENANCE: The First Supper

"The First Supper...shows clearly Susan White's thinking about human rights." - Kunstbeeld (Amsterdam)

Provenance: Exhibited in The Blake Prize Touring Exhibition, Australia (1988–89); Galerie Art & Architecture (Director: Ernst van der Vossen), Amsterdam (1990); Galerie am Buttermarkt, Cologne (1991). Purchased in 1991 for public exhibition in Germany; Volkshochschule, Munich (1992–2003); Augustana Hochschule, Neuendettelsau (2003–8). Vandalized in 2008 and returned to the artist for restoration.

Click here to read Artist Statement

The First Supper

The First Supper

LOST ART: Missing/Stolen

Have you seen any of these artworks? Please CONTACT the artist — any information would be greatly appreciated.

Three PAINTINGS and five SCULPTURES missing, presumed stolen; last seen in The Netherlands in 1994.
One PAINTING and one ETCHING stolen from The Seymour Centre, Sydney in 1977–78.

  • Beatrice the Paper-Seller of the White Bay Intersection / White Bay Intersection, 1986
    acrylic on panel
    (missing/stolen in The Netherlands)
  • Backyard Gossip in Weesp / Homesick, 1991
    acrylic on panel
    (missing/stolen in The Netherlands)
  • The Man in Drag, the Violinist, the Artist, and the Thief on a Tram in Amsterdam, 1990
    acrylic on panel
    (missing/stolen in The Netherlands)
  • Woodworm, no. 1, 1987
    red sirus
    (missing/stolen in The Netherlands)
  • Close-Knit Family, 1990
    (edition no. 1/7 missing/stolen in The Netherlands)
  • The Shy Egg, 1990
    (edition no. 1/4 missing/stolen in The Netherlands)
  • Shunga I, 1988
    (edition no. 1/9 missing/stolen in The Netherlands)
  • Shunga II, 1988
    (edition no. 2/9 missing/stolen in The Netherlands)
  • Two (etching), 1978
    (stolen from Seymour Centre, Sydney)
  • Wollondilly River, 1976
    (stolen from Seymour Centre, Sydney)
  • Poster Design for International Year of Peace, 1986
    pen, gouache, mixed media
    (missing in Poland)

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