Water in a Dry Land: Place Learning Through Art and Story

Intimate Intensity: Chrissiejoy Marshall

Map #5: The Narran Lake

In the epicentre of the painting, the centre of the circles of her selves, a pale pink eye shape with a blue-lined iris gazes out at me. Chrissiejoy’s relentless gaze meets mine as I look into her painting.

This eye/I centre is the blue of the Narran Lake, when the water comes back and life returns.

 

Chrissiejoy Marshall



 

I don’t remember a time
without the lake.
There were times
when it dried back
but they were quite rare
it was always full
and in season there’d be
thousands and thousands
of birds.

 

 

Terewah, Narran Lake

 

 

The animals you’d hear them
coming back
the frogs would start to croak
of a night
days and days before the rain
you knew it was coming
when the lake drove back
there’d be huge cracks
in the ground
and all those cracks
would have to get filled
before you got
a sheet of water on top.

 

 

Dormant


 

I’ve got a vision
of how it was when I was a child
the water
never gets there now
it’s like when people are in grief
do they want to see the body
after someone has died
it’s completely different
after an autopsy
sometimes you think
yeah it would lay it to rest,
then at other times no
I just want to keep in my head
the way that it was.