Danie Mellor is a finalist in the Dobell Drawing Prize #23 with his workGarrany-garrany/Luncheon on the grass.
Garrany-garrany/Luncheon on the grass makes art historical references and uses archival photographic imagery from Northern Queensland in their compositions. By compiling a photomontage from historic images, a tableau is created in which colonial narratives, the uncertainty and anxiety of dislocation, and broader histories of personal and collective experience are explored.
The uncertainty of the relationship between people in the scene and use of the translated title of Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe evokes an uncomfortable sense of the familiar. Creating what would become a controversial painting for the time, Manet in turn borrowed from Raphael, and also Giorgione’s The Pastoral Concert.
The complexity of the image is also heightened through language. ‘Garrany-garrany’ is a description in rainforest dialect of the sound a snake makes when slithering through the grass. The relative tranquillity of the scene is undermined by the suggestion of something sinister, underscoring the duality of interpretation and how a scene from history may be read.