Robert Ryan

Belongil Field

Medium
oil on canvas
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On the northern road to Byron Bay, there is a grassy expanse called Belongil Field – a place where the past and present converge. Originally, it was the northern entry into Cavvanbah, a sacred meeting ground for the indigenous Arakwal people. In the late 1800s timber-getters from the newly named Byron Bay passed through it on their way to the rainforests. Across the same field, drovers herded cattle to the abattoir at Belongil Beach, and whalers at season’s end exited the region. Belongil Field has always been a place through which people move. My studio is just across the road so I have ample opportunity to ponder what was, and what now is.

- Robert Ryan, 2015