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Close up of an eye

Dylan River
Untitled (Bungalow)

Creation date: 2022 Location: Gallery 12
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Dylan River, Kaytetye people, Untitled (Bungalow), 2022, commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra for the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony with the support of the American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia with the assistance of the Christopher and Francesca Beale Private Foundation. Courtesy the artist

Artist Dylan River on Untitled (Bungalow)

I'm most connected to the landscape around me, especially the landscape I was born in.

I always look at Country and think about the stories not only that it tells, but that it's, it's seen. I mean, there's many trees that outlive colonisation here, you know, they would have seen the whole process.

I hope my ancestors are looking down on me and are proud of what I'm trying to achieve. I can't necessarily speak to them, but, you know, we sort of have the ideologies that we go back to Country when we pass away and that in me capturing Country, I'm capturing my ancestors and capturing that ceremony.

I’ve thought about the idea for Untitled (Bungalow) for a while. A number of years ago I noticed old mission portraits of mob up against rendered white walls. These appeared to be studio photographs, but if you look closely you see in the reflection of the eyes their Country. You could see what they’re looking at. I found that really haunting — in the reflection of the eyes, there is something more. I was thinking about reflection in eyes and Country and connection, and that connection being lost at the time of those photos. The place that started for my grandmother, and for a lot of ‘half-caste’ Aboriginal children in Central Australia, was The Bungalow, the old Telegraph Station.

— Dylan River, 2022