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© Ian Wayne Abdulla/ Licensed by Viscopy, 2017

Untitled (Setting a line across the River Murray)

Date: 1999
Overall: 1220 x 1830 x 35 mm
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Ian Wayne Abdulla
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00030322
Place Manufactured:South Australia
Related Place:Murray River,

User Terms

    Ian Abdulla's painting depicts fishing on the River Murray at dusk. An inscription, presented in verse form, is located at the top of the painting. It reads, "Setting a cross line in the River Murray near Cobdogla just on dark we would put crab's Yabby's even Mussel's on the line hoping to catch a Murray cod or a callop even a catfish or two."
    SignificanceIan Abdulla uses art to tell his personal history and a history of his people, the stories of their lives on the Murray River, South Australia.
    HistoryIan Abdulla was born at Swan Reach, South Australia in 1947. During Ian's youth there were few permanent employment opportunities and his family, like others along the river, relied on traditional Aboriginal skills and knowledge to survive away from the Mission and the prevailing government policy of assimilation.

    Abdulla's paintings relate to a 30-kilometre stretch of the river between Cobdogla and Katarapto where the Murray River is surrounded by swamps, vineyards and orchards. The paintings are a commentary on the wealth of enjoyment that can be obtained in the face of material hardship.

    The Murray-Darling Basin is Australia's largest river system, food bowl and inland water-transport corridor. Its waterways have been contested for generations - from colonial frontier wars to colour bars at local pools, and between farming and the environment itself. Threatened by salination and erosion, infested by carp and algae and depleted by dams and weirs, the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin now flow wearily.

    Today the descendants of many alienated Indigenous clans, such as the Ngarrindjeri from the Murray riverland and Kamilaroi from Moree watercourse country, maintain shared histories and knowledge about people, place and the life of the waterways.
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