By Land and Sea

River Dreaming Collection

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River Dreaming is a vintage print that follows the running water of the Murray River as it spirals and churns downhill. Kept as one of her treasures, this print is an expression of love for Barbara. It is akin to a portrait of her home.

Artwork by Aboriginal Elder, Barbara Egan.

Barbara is an Aboriginal elder in the Mutti Mutti tribe. She grew up in a Mia Mia (a traditional hut), on the banks of the Murray River, near Mildura. The huts were created out of tin from the local tip. Bags were placed on the floor and possum and kangaroo skins were used for bedding. Barb did attend school, however the teachers did not want to teach her. Instead they encouraged her to sit in the back of the class and draw. She looks back on the events with a sense of loss, having done what she was told and not realising its significance at the time. On the other hand art has been a large part of her life. She finally did learn to read and write by her own will, inspired by wanting to have her own children attend school.

When Barbara was starting her own family she was living out of an old tin hut and working on a farm picking fruit. The owner of the farm was also the local policeman. When he found out where she was living, he helped set her up in her first house.

Barbara’s inspirational stories touch the hearts of many, as she not only creates beautiful artworks and sells them in her own gallery and in Melbourne’s Australia by Design, she also runs workshops and is a member of the Koori Night Market which hosts events throughout Victoria.