Elizabeth Durack (1915–2000) was a prolific Australian artist. She spent much of her life in Western Australia. Her subject of choice was most often aboriginal life. The book, Elizabeth Durack, Art & Life, Selected Writings
(2016, edited by Perpetua Durack Clancy, Brisbane: Connor Court, 276 pp., A$29.95) presents a chronological selection of her writings in nine chapters, one decade per chapter. There are personal letters and extracts from her diaries, along with some published and unpublished essays. The style is frank, sometimes irreverent, and she rails against political correctness. In her 80th year, Elizabeth was gripped with a manic burst of creativity. She produced a remarkable suite of works in the thrall of her new muse, Eddie Burrup. The book throws light on her relationship with Eddie Burrup and the unfolding controversy. The presenting of art works of a white woman as those of an aboriginal man caused grief for some of the local artocrats. The first 80 years of Elizabeth Durack can be regarded as a long art apprenticeship and at the culmination of which she graduated to be Eddie Burrup. In this guise and in the twilight of her life, she produced the masterworks of her career, scores of remarkable paintings. The Eddie Burrup suite of paintings are big and bold, fresh and expansive, and uniquely Australian. They reveal Australia’s ancient landscape as a playground for the spirits and totems of the land. This book reveals some of the story of Elizabeth Durack and Eddie Burrup.
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