Quest for country 1993

Quest for country was a journey home – a road trip from Sydney to Moree – looking at country, wondering how things have changed, what things would have been like and, again, playing with space and time. When you’re driving out west you think about all these things, all the massacres that happened, how Aboriginal people survived, how lands have been cleared. I was also trying to get back, retracing family roots for people, looking for people, looking for relatives, lost relatives, or trying to find out more from these relatives. MR

Connecting community and country, Quest for country is the filmic bridge between Michael Riley’s two portraiture series, A common place: Portraits of Moree Murries 1990 and Yarns from the Talbragar Reserve 1998. Following Riley as he travels from his home in the city of Sydney to his parents’ traditional homes in regional New South Wales, this film is very much located in the artist’s traditional Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi country. Passing familiar landmarks, like the Blue Mountains, much of the film’s action is based on the car and its movement, with the camera, strapped to the car, either focused on the road ahead or reflecting images via the surface of the car – a recurring motif seen in Riley’s photographic series, such as flyblown 1998. Quest for country was produced under the international From Spirit to Spirit co-production series for SBS Television.

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