Art & Life
Edited by Perpetua Durack Clancy
Paperback, 278 pages, $29.95
It is extraordinarily difficult to reconcile painting and living … To live, one must compromise; to paint one must be so utterly ruthless that any sane person would see that the game is not worth the candle. Still it burns brightly and sweetly.
-- Elizabeth Durack.
Art & Life contains extracts from diaries, letters, essays, travelogues and poetry written by Elizabeth Durack (1915–2000) over the course of seven decades. With wit and candour, the writing reveals some of the most important influences and episodes – and the paradox – of her life. Durack read and travelled widely and drew inspiration from many sources: from the men and women she knew; from classical Western and ancient Aboriginal traditions; and from contemporary politics.
I can’t really live without Eddie Burrup now. He has become a part of me – Me – in fact. I can’t go on, or get on, without him. I know he is an antiquated version of Aboriginality and that the Albert Barungas & Co now lie in the past, yet I hoped this ilk could live on: gidgi-gidgi – h’arm-in-h’arm, blackfella–whitefella – that the right way.
For much of her life and for different reasons, Elizabeth Durack’s views have challenged orthodoxy but she has held steadfastly to them as social opinion swirled around her. -- Maureen Smith.
. . . claiming ‘cultural appropriation’ seems to me like a self-evident legitimate truth. But there is another truth: it is the experience of Elizabeth – profound, transformative, inventive, creative. These are two truths. They stand as separate truths.---- Tom Stephens.
Perpetua Durack Clancy, daughter of Elizabeth and Frank, was born in Sydney NSW. She attended Loreto Convent in Melbourne and Perth and is a graduate of the UWA. She has been a teacher and art curator in many parts of Australia and the world. She lives now in the hills northeast of Perth, Western Australia.