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Australian art


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8. Near Swan Reach, South Australia, from the series The Murray's edge 2007-8



Bonita Ely


17 Aug 1946 -


Born in Mildura, Bonita Ely lives in Sydney and has been Senior Lecturer; Head of sculpture, performance and installation studies at the College of Fine Arts (COFA), University of NSW since 1991.

Ely has been a leader in environmental art since the 1970s and is a founding member of the Environmental Research Institute for Art (ERIA) at COFA. She has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1972. Her work has been selected for many surveys of contemporary Australian art most recently ‘Fieldwork’, Ian Potter Centre for Australian Art, Melbourne 2005. She has produced three public sculptures for the City of Hue, Vietnam (1998, 2002, 2006). Bonita Ely has a diverse, interdisciplinary practice, her methodology based on the premise that a particular idea and context requires the deployment of particular mediums and disciplines. Because much of her work is performance and installation based, photography and print making have always been an important part of her practice.

The Murray River as a subject has recurred in Ely’s practice since the 1970s, and this new body of work retraces her journeys along the river from 30 years ago. Recreating the small interventions she made on the banks at various points, this work documents not only the journey but also the changing nature of the river and how it has changed over time.




Media category


Materials used

12 unique ink jet prints


a - The river’s edge: near Swan Reach, SA, 29.3 x 44 cm, image

a - The river’s edge: near Swan Reach, SA, 32.9 x 48.3 cm, sheet

b-e, 44 x 29.3 cm, each image

b-e, 48.3 x 32.9 cm, each sheet

f - Near Swan Reach: trickle, 29.3 x 44 cm, image

f - Near Swan Reach: trickle, 32.9 x 48.3 cm, sheet

g-h, 44 x 29.3 cm, each image

g-h, 48.3 x 32.9 cm, each sheet

i-l, 29.3 x 44 cm, each image

i-l, 32.9 x 48.3 cm, each sheet

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r.corner each print, pencil "Bonita Ely'07".


Gift of the artist 2009


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Bonita Ely

Works in the collection