This major work by acclaimed Australian artist Lorraine Connelly-Northey was commissioned by MAMA in September 2017, with the support of the MAMA Art Foundation.
Connelly-Northey’s On Country, is a nuanced consideration of the Murray River, and maps the path of one of this country’s most vital waterways as it courses through the twin cities of Albury and Wodonga.
This epically-scaled work has been made entirely of materials found on the country of Connelly-Northey and her mother, Waradgerie (Wiradjuri). As she has done throughout her career, Connelly-Northey has scoured this country, collecting the detritus and refuse of settlement structures, in this case the remains of a burnt out farm house and the pressed tin ceiling from Albury’s former Town Hall, and assembled them to articulate a story that is both intimately personal and expansive in its broader scope.
On Country is a bank of knowledge regarding the traditional ecological and agricultural practices of this country’s first peoples. It is a map of pre-colonial settlement and a probing remark on the role of waterways as both sustaining agents for life and borders between peoples. It is an acute critique of the negative impact that ill-considered human interaction can have on our natural environment. It is a celebration of resilience.
Above all, On Country is an assertive statement of connection to place.