How Does the River Run?

Our Tree Oil on Linen 83 x112 cm ©Nada Murphy
Our Tree Oil on Linen 83 x112 cm ©Nada Murphy

The concept for this body of work was seeded during my first residency in 2013 in the Wheat belt Town of Beverley Western Australian and developed during a further Residency in March to April 2016.

I returned to Beverley for my second residency March to April 2016 with the view to explore the seasonal changes across the six traditional seasons and listen to the stories of local people about their River experiences.  I would also begin to undertake study of the land use and water management practices and the aspects of the terrain and vegetation that were tied to the stories of the River.

The project in on going.

River Reflections Oil on Canvas 60x60 ©Nada Murphy Private Collection
River Reflections Oil on Canvas 60x60 ©Nada Murphy Private Collection
Burning Off Oil on Linen 36x36 cm ©Nada Murphy
Burning Off Oil on Linen 36x36 cm ©Nada Murphy

The town has a considerable history associated with the early colonization of the state and the Avon River is a major tributary feeding into the Swan River which reaches the sea near Fremantle.  In present times the area is essentially a grain growing and sheep farming area approximately 130 kilometer east of Perth in Western Australia.

Before European settlement the River was mostly fresh and teeming with animal and birdlife. The river was a prime food source and a profound spiritual resource and remains part of a significant song line for the Ballardong people.  Settlement in the early 1830’s introduced stock watering and domestic use, and pools became places for summer recreation.

The river now is in a very different condition, seriously degraded by the cumulative impacts of settlement and  efforts to engineer the flow and flood pattern with the River Training Scheme when the river bed and banks were bulldozed.  There has also been and inflow of salt and sediment from agricultural practices .

Climate change may also be contributing

Afternoon Light Oil on Canvas 60x60 ©Nada Murphy
Afternoon Light Oil on Canvas 60x60 ©Nada Murphy
Ink & Gouache 28x38 cm ©Nada Murphy
YenYenning Ghosts Ink & Gouache 28x38 cm ©Nada Murphy
Thunderstorm Brewing Oil on Canvas 28x30 cm ©Nada Murphy Private Collection
Thunderstorm Brewing Oil on Canvas 28x30 cm ©Nada Murphy Private Collection
River Reflections Oil on Canvas 60x60 ©Nada Murphy
River Reflections Oil on Canvas 60x60 ©Nada Murphy
The Well Ink on Paper 30x 40cm©Nada Murphy
The Well Ink on Paper 30x 40cm©Nada Murphy
How Does the River Run Oil on canvas 50 x50 cm ©Nada Murphy
How Does the River Run Oil on canvas 50 x50 cm ©Nada Murphy
The Well Below Quajabin Oil on Canvas 50x 50 cm ©Nada Murphy
The Well Below Quajabin Oil on Canvas 50x 50 cm ©Nada Murphy