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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Water as Life: The Town of Wilcannia and the Darling/Baaka, 2006

by Ruby Davies

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2007 Finalist

The image shows the people of Wilcannia dispersed across the waterless landscape of the Darling River in far western NSW. On the day of the photograph the river had been continually dry for a record of almost twelve months. Since the early 1990s, increasing demands for water in the tributaries of the Darling have connected this relatively isolated community to the detrimental effects of industrial-scale agriculture and world-market economies. The people of the town, who are passionately connected to the river, enthusiastically posed for the portrait. They include the Aboriginal Land Council, the Rural Fire service, the Police Department and students and teachers from the Convent and Central schools. This image explores the visual possibilities of human figures in the expanse of contemporary landscape. I am interested in the sculptural shapes of individual poses, the organic spacing of groups of people and the presence of the landscape surrounding the figures. The work speculates on human interactions with the environment into the 21st century.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2007

Related information

Lindy Lee - Birth and Death, 2006 by Robert Scott-Mitchell
Lindy Lee - Birth and Death, 2006 by Robert Scott-Mitchell
Lindy Lee - Birth and Death, 2006 by Robert Scott-Mitchell
Lindy Lee - Birth and Death, 2006 by Robert Scott-Mitchell

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2007

Previous exhibition, 2007

Photography is the most pervasive and popular medium for portraiture and makes a natural fit with the Gallery, being a natural extension of the Gallery's longstanding commitment to photography as a contemporary portrait medium.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.