The Art of Eddie Burrup
1940s — 2000, a continuum
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The extensive body of work, visual and written, created between the years 1994 and 2000 that comprises The Art of Eddie Burrup is the final phase in the evolution of Elizabeth Durack’s oeuvre. In spirit and purpose it aligns with all that came before; it can be traced back some 60 years. It was nascent in the 1930s and probably first emerged in recorded visual form via The Whirlwind drawings and paintings of 1940–41. Towards the end of her life — through her daemon, Eddie Burrup — Elizabeth Durack distilled a lifetime of living and learning, of giving and taking, of exploring, reflecting upon and of recreating lost worlds of an ancient culture. Her art is homage to this culture. It also honours and fulfills an exceptional talent.
- The meeting at Bandicoot Bar
- mixed media on canvas
- 182 x 92 cm
- exhibited: Durack Gallery Broome, July 1997
- collection: estate of Elizabeth Durack
- Eddie's title
T'is one true story :
Time when gudea measurin' up first time
where 'im reckon 'e gonna put'm
Diversion Dam b'la Bandicoot Bar
b'la Ord river, Kununurra
Well ... all t'em ol'd fella dreamin' mob
'e can't agree for that —
'im reckon more better
hold a Meetin'
talk it over gissa-gissa.
Alright, you see'm all comin' in now —
Ol' pelican round'm up
'n two fella barramundi, 'im go lead —
T'at the biggest mob of fish you ever see
All comin' in for Meeting —
black bream, cat fish, crayfish, rifle fish,
manta ray, long-neck turtle,
fresh-water crocodile, saw fish, eel —
you name it
'im there, alright —
biggest mob you ever see —
All comin' in now for big one Meeting —
table, everything —
tape record sound'm back ...
The upshot of the 1962 Meeting, attended by traditional Mirriuwong—Gajerrong Elders, was unanimous decision by a show of hands that the projected activity at Bandicoot Bar be blocked.
However, nothing came of this. The Diversion Dam, with its 19 radial gates, went ahead. Then, ten years later when the Top Dam at Argyle was finally completed, the age-old pattern of the river's life was shattered forever.
At the end of the Dry season when the big reaches and pools of the Ord River had receded, Bandicoot Bar was a favoured gathering place. Bark was stripped from the Leichardt pine and thrown on to the water. This had the effect of anaesthetising the fish that came gently floating to the surface to be easily caught by hand. The catch was shared with the gudea at adjacent Ivanhoe Station ...