Sad news today of the sudden death of much loved Bundjalung man and artist Albert (Digby) Moran at the age of 71.
A message on Facebook from his partner Kerry said ‘I am deeply saddened to inform you all that Digby passed away suddenly yesterday. We are all devastated. He is loved by so many people and will be sorely missed. Thank you all for supporting him, he received great pleasure from reading your comments.’
Born in Ballina, Digby’s mother was a Bundjalung woman and his father Dunghutti. He spent his formative years in the community of Cabbage Tree Island, later working as a cane cutter and as a boxer with Jimmy Sharman’s troupe.
Digby began painting seriously in 1991, after doing an art course at TAFE.
He once said, ‘Painting gives me great pleasure and brings me peace. It is a way for me to tell the stories that were told to me by my grandparents and elders when I was growing up.’
His art work quickly brought him acclaim in the Northern Rivers and far beyond, with solo shows and major prizes in Australia and Europe.
Despite his fame, Digby remaining firmly connected to his own country. ‘You’ll never catch me painting things like barramundi or crocodiles,’ he said. ‘Water is a big part of all Bundjalung Dreaming. I have always been a saltwater man.’
Film-maker Karenza Ebejer, who recently filmed Digby for a documentary accompanying his solo show at the Lismore Regional Gallery, said today she was so sorry to hear of the passing of a great artist, Uncle Digby, who shared his life spirit with us through his canvas. ‘My life is richer for having met him and hearing his story.’
Digby leaves behind three daughters, a son and many much-loved grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The Northern Rivers community will not be the same without him.