Friday, September 16, 2011

Compassion is something individual and voluntary. You cannot compel somebody to be compassionate; nor can you be vicariously compassionate by compelling somebody else. The Good Samaritan would have lost all merit if a Roman soldier were standing by the road with a drawn sword, telling him to get on with it and look after the injured stranger.
-Enoch Powell, Still to Decide

Outback Australia: “if you know Bourke, you know Australia” so wrote the famous Australian poet Henry Lawson in 1882. Art has a privileged status in the production of symbols of national identity even at Bondi Iceberg... A number of artists today look at the outback country and the life of the small inland town(s) with an entirely new eye. Behind their pictorial observations on the drovers, the rabbiters and the small selectors of the drought-stricken areas of the west is a seriousness of purpose that has brought home to us for the first time in paint a side of our country and people that unfortunately is too little understood and realised by the town dwellers, and up to now was not thought worthy of being put on canvas. Belinda Williams (not related to RM Williams) is one of the rare artists who is able to transport us back to Kakadu; Katherine, Kings Canyon corner of those breathtaking antipodean landscape Not so long ago, about the time Media Dragon invaded The Lake Eyre, Belinda was involved in a wonderful Australian project, Utes in the Paddock. “Utes in the Paddock” is the brainchild of Graham and Jana Pickles, graziers whose passion for the outback led them to start a Dorper Sheep Stud on their historic cattle station Burrawang West at Ootha near Condobilin. Each artist was presented with a Holden ute as our canvas, and Belinda created DrizAkubra. The outback is a never ending source of inspiration which continues to feed my desire to portray this element of the Australian countryside and community.
-Those who love Australia and the Antipodeans such as Media Dragon and Mal find their feelings reflected in the bold, sincere and deeply human records Bel has made of the landscape and its inhabitants, black and white.