In 2010 Frances Belle Parker visited China as part of Imagine Australia, an Australian Government cultural exchange program. These two paintings form part of the 175 Series (2010), made in response to a tour of the environmentally devastating Three Gorges Dam, the hydropower project that led to a 175 metre rise in the Yangtze River and the loss of homes and livelihoods.
Much of Parker’s work is focused on the land to which she belongs (Yaegl land) and her images of the Yangtze carry this deep experience of land, home and belonging. They are sensuous paintings. The soft shapes of the steep riverbanks and the dominance of blue and grey, as well as their small size and paper ground, recall traditional Chinese watercolour landscapes, while remaining firmly rooted in Parker’s own visual sensibilities. As Tess Allas writes of two other works in the 175 Series, Not Now, Not Ever (1 and 2), document how, as both an artist and Yaegl woman, Parker would never allow such a thing to happen to Biirrinba. […] She carries with her – in every stroke of her paintbrush – a strong sense of cultural responsibility. She is acutely aware of the role her art plays in the transference of Yaegl knowledge to future generations.”1
Metre Mark (3), 2010
acrylic on archival paper
77 x 57 cm
175 Yangtze Red (1), 2010
acrylic and enamel on archival paper
43 x 35.5 cm
Frances Belle Parker is a proud Yaegl woman, painter and installation artist from Maclean, New South Wales. She is deeply inspired by her mother’s land (Yaegl land) and the island in the Clarence River that her mother grew up on, Ulgundahi. Parker completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at COFA in 2003 and is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Blake Prize in 2000.
- Tess Allas, Daughter of the River, Daughter of the Land, in Frances Belle Parker (Sydney: Artspace Visual Arts Centre, 2014) 76. [↩]