Chris and Murray River

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So thrilled to have one of my portraits again selected for the 2015 Olive Cotton Award. This time it’s Chris and Murray River.

Friends and family will know that I and my artist husband, Chris Lawrie, have done many inland camping trips in recent years, and the mighty but much-degraded Murray River has been the focus of several of those. For Chris, whose Scottish ancestors were among the first settlers in South Australia, travelling around the country they settled back in the 1830s and 40s is poignant. European settlement, as well as crucial stock droving routes, depended heavily on this river. And so did local indigenous people. This portrait ponders what constitutes ‘belonging’ to land, a question that continues to resonate.

My exhibition “Too much ask …” back in 2011 was based on both the landscapes around the Murray River in Victoria, NSW and South Australia, and the journals of early explorers and pioneers in the region.