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Artist: Cedric Varcoe
When Ngurunderi travelled through what is now Ngarrindjeri country he came down the Murray River in his canoe. At that time it was just a small stream. Ngurunderi was looking for his two wives who had run away from him and was following Pondi, the big Murray Cod who had created the twists and turns of the river when sweeping his huge tail from side to side. Ngurunderi was trying to spear Pondi all the way along the journey.Together they formed the Murray River, lakes and landforms and everything in Ngarrindjeri Country. Ngurunderi made the rain that feeds the river and the country. With the rain came the rainbow, which can be seen in this painting. Ngurunderi also made the Ngarrindjeri people, who live along and around the River Murray, lakes, the Coorong region and across to Cape Jervis and the southern regions of what is now Adelaide. Ngurunderi travelled with his family and they also played a part in the creation of Ngarrindjeri country. Ngurunderi taught everyone the lore, dance, song, how to hunt and live and everything they needed to survive in their country. When they reached Lake Alexandrina Nepele, Ngurunderi’s brother in law, helped spear and kill Pondi. Ngurunderi cut Pondi into many pieces, each piece creating a new species of fish that now populates the river system. Ngurunderi never did catch his wives who drowned when crossing to Kangaroo Island, which was still joined to the mainland at that time. At this point Ngurunderi joined the spirit world becoming a star in the Milky Way. In July 2015 Cedric was given a grant by Arts SA. for professional development and cultural research. With the support of Better World Arts, Cedric pursued an intensive program of studying archived information at the South Australian Museum. He spent time talking to Ngarrindjeri elders and researching his Ngarrindjeri heritage in some depth. During the same time period Cedric undertook some developmental workshops focused on his painting. These workshops provided life drawing, brush techniques and colour theory components, providing tools and knowledge for Cedric to include in the technical sides of his art. The results of these inputs into Cedric’s artistic and cultural development were immediately evident. Cedric continues to develop as an artist.