Elizabeth Rankin: Pyjama Girl

When: Thursday 13 June - Sunday 28 July

Where: Brindley Family Galleries & Quest Albury and Quest Albury on Townsend Galleries, MAMA

Price: FREE

Artist Elizabeth Rankin presents a vibrant series of oil paintings that explore the intrigue and mystery of the Pyjama Girl murder case that occurred in Albury in 1934.

The artist first learned of the infamous case as a young girl visiting the Royal Easter Show in Sydney in the 1950's. In an early 'true crime' exhibit presented by the NSW Police, gory details and evidence from the case was presented alongside May the 'Fat Lady', cortortionists, farm animals and rows of show bags.

In September 1934, the body of a young woman was found in a storm water drain on the outskirts of Albury near Splitters Creek. She was deceased, badly disfigured, and wearing distinctive yellow silk pyjamas. Henceforth the victim became known as the 'Pyjama Girl'. Her body was unable to be identified, so it was preserved and put on display at Sydney University in the hope someone would be able to identify her.

10 years later, dental records were used to identify the victim as missing Sydney woman Linda Agostini. Linda’s husband, Antonio Agostini, was charged for her manslaughter in 1944, serving 4 of his 6 year sentence before being deported to Italy. The case drew national attention, and has persisted in popular culture in a television series, theatre productions, and true crime literature exploring the details and persistent questions the public had with the case.

Oil painting of the disfigured face of a woman with dark hair, particularly around the left eye

Elizabeth Rankin, Linda Agostini, 2018, Oil, wax and marble dust on linen. Image courtesy of the artist.

As an artist, Elizabeth Rankin is interested in the portrayal of crime in media and culture, and our persistent fascination with true crime. She is a doctoral candidate at the National Art School, Sydney, having completed her MFA in Drawing in 2017. Her work is held at the National Art school and has been exhibited widely both in commercial galleries and in artist run spaces.

Elizabeth Rankin's Pyjama Girl was selected as one of six exhibitions that came through our 2018 Open Call process.