Born 1962, Swan Hill, Victoria
Waradgerie woman Lorraine Connelly-Northey born in Swan Hill, Victoria in 1962, grew up making and connecting to the concept of using found material. Working closely with her mother, learning to use her hands to create, Lorraine also had her foundations solidly placed in the environment. This was nurtured by her father, a farmer, who would share his knowledge about the landscape and the many thousands of years of Aboriginal connection to and occupation of the country.
Respect for the land and the Murray River informs her practice, as does the history of gathering, both in the sense of her Waradgerie ancestors who gathered to weave and provide food for community but also in the physicality of gathering rusted wire and metal from the landscape, collecting the ‘dead’ metal waste left on country and turning the material into inspired creations imbued with meaning and life.
The works of Lorraine Connelly-Northey reference the gathering of food and resources for thousands of generations by her Ancestors. This practice is embedded in her own artistic development, ardently collecting found materials and re-envisaging them into sculptural forms of narrbongs and koolimans dishes used for collecting, winnowing and cradling along with canoes used to travel and gather on the river. Making use of what is available from the landscape has shifted to what has been left and discarded, gathering barbed wire and sheets of metal, the rough rusted remnants are recycled and transformed into vessels speaking to the old ways and catapulting them to the present.