Collection Online

Murray River punch
1980; printed 2008

colour inkjet prints, inkjet prints, colour DVD, sound
15 min 38 sec (a-q) 117.0 × 932.0 cm (overall)
Place/s of Execution
Melbourne, Victoria
ed. 1/3
Accession Number
Australian Multimedia
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2009
© Bonita Ely. Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
Gallery location
Not on display
About the work

Bonita Ely is one of Australia’s most important feminist artists and Murray River Punch is one of her most significant performances. The work was first performed at Melbourne University’s George Paton Gallery in June 1980 as part of ‘Women at Work’, a festival of women’s performance art. In this work the artist set up a cooking demonstration in the university’s Student Union foyer at lunchtime and assumed the role of a cooking demonstrator who narrates the recipe for a ‘punch’ drink, the ingredients coming from pollutants in the Murray River.

When Murray River Punch was exhibited in the exhibition HEAT at RMIT in 2008, Ely updated the recipe’s contents to include sulphuric acid, a toxic substance that is now found in the waterway.

While ‘of its time’, the work continues to have an extraordinary resonance and power given escalating concerns within Australia and internationally about environmental degradation and climate change.