Surrender | Joshua Yeldham

In Joshua Yeldham's first work of literature, stories of devotion interweave with visual musings to result in a compelling journal.


Reading Surrender is like being invited into Yeldham’s stream of consciousness, infused with stories of family, his travels throughout Australia and the places that continue to inspire his practice.

Flicking through the pages, Yeldham invites the reader into a visual telling of his life journey from the pains of boarding school, to the Rhode Island School of Design and later his revels in Venezuela and an odyssey into the Australian outback in a beat-up old combie.

Originally produced alongside his survey exhibition Surrender at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum in 2014, it is a product of Yeldham’s lifelong passage in his art practice. More journal than catalogue or autobiography, Surrender bursts with Yeldham’s energy as he scribbles poems and sketches over photographs of the Hawkesbury, pictures of his youth and his daughter and wife.

There is something manic that emerges in Yeldham’s intensive creating – drawing patterns and designs on trees and rocks – as if making his own mark and adding to the layered stories and myths that are embedded in the Australian landscape.

Everything about Surrender is personal and intimate, from his poems written to his family, to pictures of youth in the Hawkesbury river where Yeldham grew up. Whilst some might this find honesty this exposing, Yeldham’s unfiltered telling is refreshing, sweeping the reader into his excitement and zest for his life and practice. Symbiotic, you cannot understand one without the other.

The graphic intensity and playful forms of Yeldham’s work evokes an exploration of nature, with his abstract landscapes and figurative works suffused with narrative and myth.

Surrender is a meaningful telling of Joshua Yeldham, and is a must read for any creative wanderer.

Surrender by Joshua Yeldham is published by Picador Australia, $49.99

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