The River

Work by Danie Mellor
Infrared photography Parramatta River, manipulated images fabricated in Laminex Fusion
Location Main Entry

These photographs of the Parramatta River reveal its shoreline through a sequence of infra-red imagery. Taken from the junction of the Darling Mills and Toongabbie Creeks to Parramatta Park, the images were taken while in a slowly moving boat in the middle of the river. This stretch of river near the Westmead Health Precinct has a timeless history of Aboriginal occupation and custodianship and a more recent history of colonial establishment, with the heritage of both cultures present in memory, story and architecture. The infra-red photography hints at a world unseen, The River suggesting a history of continuing presence that is both material and immaterial, while acknowledging the connection of First People to Country.

The deliberately fragmented composition of the work suggests a journey that is interrupted, at times even challenging. This arrangement of imagery echoes the way in which we glance at different parts of a landscape and the world around us, while reflecting in a symbolic way on the different narratives of history with a scene that at first seems continuous but is interrupted in its flow. Individual panels reveal different aspects of the river, recalling through their unexpected arrangement art movements such as Cubism, in which painted and photographic imagery conveyed multiple views of a scene and subject in a single work. Each photographic image in The River shows part of the shoreline and its beauty, together offering a river scene through which healing, history, culture and the presence of people living now, and in the past, can be felt and experienced.

Video by Martin Brown

Concept for the front entry wall

Commissioned by HARC for the Westmead Hospital Redevelopment Project


Warami-Westmead acknowledges the Dharug people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which the Westmead Health Precinct stands and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.

© Health and Arts Research Centre Inc 2021