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This month, in the lead up to the festive season and end of 2023, we have a heartwarming chat about fleeting beauty, magical soil and ‘The Labyrinth’ with Selena Murray, one half of the creative duo, Immortal Soil. We know you’ll love reading all about how the brains of these Northern Rivers creatives work and how they are inspired to showcase the wonder of the natural world in their art:

IMMORTAL SOIL is the collective souls of Bob Horan and Selena Murray. We met at the Sydney flower market many moons ago. Bob worked on a rose farm and would man the market stall at the crack of dawn in his hi-vis. I would arrive late and he would often park the truck in front of my van, which started many a conversation. We then realised our lives had been criss-crossing for a while. Bob has been in the flower industry his whole life – having a flower shop in both Adelaide and Sydney, then growing and selling roses. I’m a Jack of All Trades, I had a restaurant in Sydney, worked in film, I’ve also been a hairdresser and then tried my hand at floristry. We bonded over the love of nature, strange things, food, humour and all things Taurean.

The name IMMORTAL SOIL came from the desire to work behind an alias. We are both shy people, and liked the idea of working ‘behind the cloak” of a bigger entity. We work for nature, rather than we make it work for us. We both have a deep reverence for the world around. We often say “the earth is our church” so that stuck. IMMORTAL SOIL lives on beyond us, even when we are long gone. Oh, and I love drone metal music, so thought it sounded like were an obscure band lurking around.

Our work is often informed by everyday things: a simple piece of wood, a strange colour, an odd link to something. Our philosophy of making work out of overlooked, underappreciated grown elements comes from years of working in and observing the extremely wasteful and taxing flower industry. We both aim to highlight the beauty of all natural things – not just the straight, perfect, non scented roses flown in frozen from as far away as Africa. We don’t connect with the mass produced plastic bundles of tulips from Holland, or the bleached and coloured zombie flowers you see getting around the flower world these days. The beauty of the natural world is always around us – we all just need to open our eyes.



We LOVE the impermanence of what we do. It’s an interesting concept that is born, partly, from our slight neurosis of not wanting to have something we create existing forever out in the ether. We are both perfectionists and can be hard on ourselves at times. We also joke that we are like wild animals, that have to remove any evidence of our presence from our surroundings. The fact that our work is short lived makes us become very aware and present in our surroundings in real time, we’re always noticing the seasons ebbing and flowing around us. Our work is less about monetising our permanent art and more about just enjoying its presence and beauty fleetingly.

Living here in the Northern Rivers has really shaped our practice – there is a great abundance of life springing out of this magic soil everywhere around us. The expansiveness of the land here, the vastly different types of human interactions we have, there is time to breathe, think and feel inspired. We feel very lucky to have landed here and been so welcomed into the fold.

Community is everything, we aim to support local artists, producers and growers from the area, especially small scale passionate home gardeners. We have met some wonderful people who have been so generous in sharing their knowledge and who have shown a keen interest in how we used their produce. A real honest and natural exchange. Without this our practice wouldn’t be what it is. We’re informed by the world around us and we’re all connected, that’s the true sense of nature. No person is an island.



We are children of the 80s. Both Bob and I are influenced by fantasy films like The Labyrinth, anything made by Jim Henson, horror movies, growing your own crystal garden and looking after sea monkeys. Our imagination and concepts often develop into making “creature’ like pieces, that in turn often requires other adornment, enter the wigs stage left.

What would be our dream installation? We would love to make a carnival, a circus of sorts made of plants, flowers and things from nature. A world to rival the Wonka chocolate factory. Big scale, interactive and magical! Now that I’ve put it out there, we’re open to any takers on the IMMORTAL SOIL Carnival – we’re available!

We have some site-specific festival installations in the works and some overseas residency opportunities coming up in 2024 that were really excited about!  Also we’ve made some great t-shirts to spread the word close to our hearts ‘IMMORTAL SOIL-THE EARTH IS OUR CHURCH”.

Main Image: Tajette O’Halloran, second image: Holly Ahern, all other images courtesy of IMMORTAL SOIL



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