Anne Wallace Creator of Passing the River at Woogaroo Reach

Passing the River at Woogaroo Reach., created by Anne Wallace
WALLACE, Anne Australia b.1970 Passing the River at Woogaroo Reach 2015 Oil on canvas 70 x 170cm Acc. 2018.136 Gift in memory of Nell Bliss through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation 2018. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program

Read about Ann Wallace’s incredible gift to the Qld Art Gallery here.

“The painting depicts a group of nine women — now adults, two in wheelchairs — adrift on a small boat on the river outside Wolston Park. The river banks are wildly overgrown, and a snake scurrying with an egg in its mouth symbolises the theft of their youth and innocence. A torn mattress in the thicket to the right is emblematic of the State’s failure to prepare the women for life outside the institution and to provide them with the means to live in the real world.”

“On the left, a tree trunk shows the carved initials of each woman, but Wallace has chosen to write these in an occult alphabet known as ‘passing the river’ to draw attention to the obfuscation and misunderstanding that they confronted when sharing their experiences of being institutionalised.”

Peter McKay, Artlines, no.2, 2019, pp.54–6.

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