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Beth Thornber: It’s flamin hot darl

Beth Thornber
It's flamin' hot darl, 2023
Murray Art Museum
Image by Jeremy Weihrauch

It’s flamin hot darl is a large-scale commission painting by Wiradjuri artist Beth Thornber. For Thornber, the banks of the Milawa are a formative place of key memories like fishing for Yellow Belly in the belting heat to the soundtrack of Cicada song. It's flamin' hot darl is her mum’s warning of summer heat and snake season as they played under ghost gums.

This painting is part of an ongoing body of work that Beth says began at her grandparent's home. She describes listening to her Pop's lyrical stories of the Milawa (Murray River) while she and the other grandkids drew the scenes he described on his back with cheap markers, and invented dances around the stories.

As a gentle means of access to these memories, Thornber presents the death and rebirth of life on the river that exists beyond the confines of human impact.

This commission has been made possible due to funding from the Australian Government’s RISE program, and Destination NSW.

Beth Thornber was born in Corowa, a small town on the banks of the Murray River in NSW.

A First Nations artist and curator of the Wiradjuri people. Her multi-disciplinary practice employs a visual alphabet of animal, plant, and human motifs to consider themes of historical and environmental impact on the post-colonial landscape. Thornber’s paintings consider existing structures cemented in everyday life and applies this lens to reimagine ideas of sacredness, boundaries, common ownership, and shared responsibility.