Another Country

Another Country by Nicolas Rothwell.

Post by Brenda from Southport Branch library.

Nicolas Rothwell is an award winning Author and Journalist who has written a number of books and articles. As a correspondent for “The Australian” he has travelled the length and breadth of Central and Northern Australia. One of his books, “Another Country”, describes many of his experiences as he moves from place to place and reconnects with the people and the communities of outback Australia.

As he takes us through many isolated regions of Australia, Rothwell provides us with vivid images of many outback communities and landscapes and the people who dwell within them. It is easy for the reader to imagine and sense the shimmering heat, the dust, the changing seasons and the build-up to the wet season that happens each year in Northern Australia. We also learn about the beauty,  stillness and colour to be found in outback regions.

Another country has been described as “…a portrait of people and places.” We meet many individuals, men, women and children who live in and move about the remote and often harsh places of the land. We learn of their challenges, their joys and their connections to each other through family and kinship, and to the land they live in. We also learn of their differences as they go about their daily lives and the many ways they express those differences, in particular, through their distinctive artistic skills and techniques.

Rothwell devotes large sections of his book to the indigenous art scene and the aboriginal artists whom he meets and whom he knows personally. He discusses with them their philosophy on life and their art and the many ways they express themselves and their life experiences through their paintings and art works. Many artists have become highly recognised painters who exhibit in Australian cities and regions as well as internationally. Rothwell describes how many indigenous art studios have developed and observes how the artists are often moved to change their style of art due to changes that occur within themselves and their relationship to each other and to the land. The promotion and sale of aboriginal art is also discussed by Rothwell. He raises many questions regarding the ethics used by some art dealers, but also notes that aboriginal artists have developed their own ways of presenting their work in this environment. 

“Another Country” is a sensitively written and colourful observation of the lives of the many different people and communities who inhabit the outback of Australia. The desert country they are born into is beautifully and vividly described by Rothwell.