My name is James Rushford and I am a composer/performer. I have reimagined Smart’s captivating painting Wallaroo as a melancholic organ duet constructed with a series of dyads, undulating like the ground and movement of the figures in the painting.
Smart’s Wallaroo won the Commonwealth Jubilee Art Prize in 1951. In an interview he recalled the process of gathering material for the painting: ‘I had a little sketch book, and a box of watercolours and I made a few notes … The first one was just a colour note of the yellow beach with the rusty coloured seaweed and lots of dark rocks ... While I was making this ten-minute sketch two men carried a little boat out to the water ... Then I walked along the beach and found a strange sort of breakwater. It was made of old oil drums ... In the town about half a mile away, I found two interesting old buildings ... so in they went, into the sketch book ... By now I was beginning to feel some of the charm of Wallaroo. I embarked on a more ambitious job, a largish watercolour and ink drawing ... After this last study I felt I could leave Wallaroo and return to the city and digest all the things I had seen.’