Insights on Australian Literature

The landscape of Australian literature nurtures a close relation between literature and art. Narratives become deeply rooted within the culture and context of our Australian history, but also connects us to memory. As an artist I believe that visual messages are part of our repertoire of memories, authors visualise these memories using language techniques as paint. The ethos of our national literature, and in particular our indigenous literature, is often compelled to paint a visual image of land, and the relationship of the narrative within the context of the environment. An environment we encounter in memory, connecting with our understanding of this earth and history. Which leads to an interesting question; Can an author create a successful Australian story without a link to the environment?

“And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars.”
Banjo Patterson, ‘Clancy of the overflow’ (1889

Arthur Boyd | Twilight.
Arthur Boyd | Twilight, Pulpit Rock, c.1982.

Reading that particular stanza of Clancy of the overflow, I feel as if I’m being placed in one of Arthur Boyd’s paintings of the Shoalhaven. Having visited his Bundanon studio along the banks of the Shoalhaven River, I remember it as an incredibly tranquil and calm moment, immersed in an awe inspiring and rugged terrain. A beauty and lightness evoked by language texture in Banjo’s perceptions of an Australian landscape.