Jane Brown’s evocative photo of the Elmore scoreboard, and its lone attendant, is part her series of photos, Sporting Country, that is part of the Basil Sellers Art Prize currently at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne, until 6 November.
Jane Brown’s photography is also in collections at the National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and Horsham Regional Art Gallery.
The inspiration for Sporting Country was the story of a 100-year old football team in Victoria’s Mallee region that recruited players from interstate in an effort to survive, writes Jacqueline Doughty in the catalogue for the Basil Sellers Art Prize. Doughty continues: The meticulously tended bowling greens and football ovals in Brown’s photographs testify to the determination of local communities to maintain rural sporting facilities in the face of a gradual but steady shift in support from local clubs to national and international teams. But as athletes, audiences and resources are siphoned away to urban centres, these local playing fields appear to be stuck in the past, imbuing the images with a sense of melancholy that suggests a swansong as much as a celebration.