Alison Murray

Alison Murray (b. 1967) was born in Tully on Gulngay Country. She is a Girramay and Jirrbal woman and Traditional Owner of the Murray Upper area near Cardwell in North Queensland. Murray is a painter and potter with an eye for detail and a good understanding for composition, colour and pattern making1. Her strong connection to family, place and heritage is her creative inspiration – drawing from her traditional stories, and the places where she lives, works and camps for her inspiration. She has devoted her practice to landscape painting and her life to farming – having grown-up and worked on multiple cattle stations2. She is currently working at a fruit farm in the Murray Upper area, while continuing to paint at Girringun Art Centre.

The artist and artwork texts that follow invite the viewer to engage with the works of art individually, within their pairings, and as a group, in relation to their own locality, and residual memories that connect them to place.

Murray has been working on varying farms in North Queensland and the Northern Territory since she was nine years old – initially working on a banana farm, then a banana and cane farm after highschool, and since then, skilling-up to work on different cattle stations3. Her painting Cattle Station hosts a drove of cattle grazing under scattered trees and at watering places that strecth the dusty, cleared and rising hillsides that extend out toward the ranges – the work is actually a combination of farming landscapes that Murray has worked at over the years. In this work, the beginning of the farmland is signalled by a wooden fence that snakes from right to left in the foreground – Murray has been fortunate enough to access to these varying lands on account of her employment, however many local community members that have ancestral connections have not4.

  1. Joann Russo (art centre manager, Girringun Art Centre), email message to author, February 10, 2021.
  2. Joann Russo (art centre manager, Girringun Art Centre), phone conversation with author, February 8, 2021.
  3. Alison Murray (artist), personal communication with author, February 8, 2021.
  4. Joann Russo (art centre manager, Girringun Art Centre), phone conversation with author, February 8, 2021.