Lorraine Gill Galleries - The Outback Series

Wetlands Over Oenpelli

I had been given permission as an artist to fly into Oenpelli community by the aboriginal elders, and to stay for two days.

From the light aircraft, the world below seemed strangely closer; the wetlands were vivid lime-greens populated by meandering rivers and streams.

During my arrangements to try to visit an aboriginal community from London, my friend Steven Newland had gone to great lengths to promote me as a serious artist worthy of being allowed to go into the aboriginal community itself. Oenpelli is not a place where you normally travel, except in certain periods of the year by four wheel drive; at other times it is only accessible by light aircraft.

This was an area of Oenpelli where the beautiful bark paintings done by the aboriginal people of the Northern Territory were being created. I decided that I really did need to see this particular area of Australia and was more than happy to be given permission by the elders as an artist to visit the community for two days. Steven drove me for approximately four hours to get to a place called Jabiru, which is the name of the bird common to that area, to then get into the light aircraft and to travel into the wetlands over the escarpments in order to get to this very small community.

We took off, and I was the only person in the plane apart from the pilot. I could see down below me where there were meanderings of blue small rivulets which were hiding the common predator along that area; crocodiles. There were also great swarms of yellow butterflies, and trees that were around the meanderings.

Quite suddenly, rising up just nearby and very high, was a plain orange escarpment which was very very deep and had formations which were similar to the pillars of an ancient Egyptian temple.

These pillars housed many a tree and other natural growths. Its own poetic nature acted like a giant red curtain screening off one area of wetlands far below, from the top layers of table lands over which we continued our flight.

There was a strange bird that had hovered nearby, which I transformed into a larger, imaginative, and more predatory and pre-historic image which I believed to be more in keeping with the landscape itself. Wetlands over Oenpelli is a watercolour about distance and space and mountain ranges and approximations.

We flew to a very rough, small landing strip, and the swarms of yellow butterflies swarming there were like a thick mist that greeted us on arrival.

It was one of the greatest privileges to be allowed not only that experience, but to be visiting Oenpelli: a very important aboriginal craft sanctuary.

Painted 2003. (released 19th Dec, 2006)
Wetlands Over Oenpelli

Prints are available in several sizes and have the option to be hand signed by Lorraine, each size has a limited print run of 250 and are individually numbered.

Dimensions without borders (approx)

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