My Landscape

My Landscapes

My Landscape is a new project for the 2019 Shepparton Festival, exploring the notion that every person has a unique way of seeing the world around them and seeks to examine the individual trace of ourselves we leave in our landscapes.

Shepparton Festival Creative Director Crag Carrick says the project has three distinct components, a call for local landscape stories, a call for artists to interpret those stories, and a mixed media exhibition on display during the 2019 Shepparton Festival.

“We encourage the community to support this project by submitting stories of landscapes that resonate with them,” explains Mr. Carrick.

“Landscapes are not limited to vistas and can refer to buildings, gardens, streetscapes and spaces that exist today, or in memories, anywhere in Greater Shepparton,” adds Mr. Carrick.

In submitting their stories, individuals are asked to explore their chosen landscape and explain why it is so unique and special to them.

Examples of local stories are available below, with a beautiful story from John Head.

Landscape stories can be submitted until Monday 1 October to director@sheppartonfestival.org.au for consideration to be interpreted in to artworks.

Once these stories are collated, the Shepparton Festival will be calling for artists interested in working with local mentors to interpret the landscape stories in their chosen medium.

To be considered as a participating artist please register your interest by emailing director@sheppartonfestival.org.au

My Landscape is a true celebration of Shepparton; where local people and artists come together to tell their stories in new and compelling ways.

The Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund is provided through Regional Arts Australia, administered in Victoria by Regional Arts Victoria.



Jordan River Gums

By John Head.

I live on the Goulburn River, near some beautiful trees on Jordan’s Bend. I have Two favourite trees in particular, both majestic white gums. One sits at the south-western corner of the bend, just next to the track overlooking the slipway to Snake Island. (I noticed the name changed on official maps to ‘Jordan Island’ in about 2006. Maybe not to scare the city folk.)

I painted a picture of that tree in 2007 and showed it as part of an exhibition. It didn’t sell. Well, none of them sold. The painting gathered dust in the Dookie Emporium for a few years and now sits in the back of a cupboard.

The other tree is at the back of O’Connell’s house upstream from us. This tree spreads its welcoming arms over the track just as it passes over the second footbridge toward town from our place. Both trees must be centuries old and both make me stop and crane my neck in awe.

We hear the crack of large limbs falling sometimes. Particularly during the later years of the drought. Usually on still nights. I’d go looking for the amputated limbs in the morning with my dog sometimes. Then excitedly, describe the size, weight and state of bush devastation to my family. “Just as well no one was under it!”

We had a bushfire behind our place in November of 2006. We packed photo albums, wills and passports into boxes and had them at the front door, then watched thirteen fire trucks arrive and transfer water and volunteers to fight the wild fire. Even in the still conditions it spread like, ‘wild fire’.

The control centre truck set up on our driveway and plugged into a water main in our front garden and power on our side deck. Two men with a length of fire hose dressed in full battle regalia stood as a last line of defence at our back fence. They were the best fed firemen in the Goulburn Valley that night, as each neighbour raided their fridges trying to show their gratitude.

The bush smoked for days. Some stumps were still burning 2 weeks later. It took 2 months for the first signs of green to line the trees, and 6 months for the smell of smoke to disappear from the bush. I loved watching the transition from black to bush.

Twelve months later I organised a lunch in a natural amphitheatre of green sprouting, black trees and hung 6 brightly coloured, three meter long banners from 6 trees in a circle; black for burnt, red for fire, green for new growth, blue for water and 2 white banners because I ran out of ideas. I had a chef cook up a barbecue for 12 friends while my daughter and son played music and sang for us. It was a hot day and only one of my friends was concerned about the prospect of a falling limb. “A Widow Maker”, he called it as he kept an eye on the black branches above us. He works as a personal injuries claims lawyer.

No one died that day. And the bush is now more alive than ever.


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