The experiences of the Country and the people of the Barka/Darling River are the focus of a unique virtual art exhibition winding its way to Canberra at The Australian National University’s (ANU) Water Justice Hub from 15-17 September.
The virtual exhibition, Aquawhen?, focuses on the communities and people in far western NSW and their river, the Barka-Lower Darling.
Aquawhen? includes pictorials commissioned by the Water Justice Hub and created by artists Rix Lee and Tom Horne. The pictorials are based on the testimonies and the lived experiences of Menindee and Wilcannia residents in Western New South Wales in 2019 who appeared before the 2019 Citizen’s Inquiry on the Health of the Barka-Darling River.
The virtual exhibition features: the Menindee and Wilcannia pictorials of the testimonies; a video from 2019, and later, of the impact of the drought on Country and another video recorded in 2021 about the return of water to the Barka-Lower Darling River in 2021, filmed by Dan Schulz and Otis Filley; and Justice Posters from researchers within the Water Justice Hub.
The Hub’s Convenor, Professor Quentin Grafton, said the exhibition is about telling stories and supporting ‘Voices of the River’ with visualisations from Barkandji (People of the Barka) Country.
“The pictorials are a powerful statement of the witnesses’ love of Country and what happened to their beloved river in 2019. The videos tell a moving story of when a river runs dry, and when it runs again,” Professor Grafton said.
“This virtual exhibition is a unique opportunity to connect to people, to place and across time. It’s an ‘everywhen’ experience that invites everyone from everywhere to connect to water in a very special place. We call this experience Aquawhen?”
When - The Aquawhen? exhibition launches at 1.30 pm on Wednesday 15 September (AEST).
Who - Guest speakers include:
· ANU Vice Chancellor and President Professor Brian Schmidt AC
· Director of the Crawford School of Public Policy Professor Fiona Yap
· Director for the Institute of Water Futures Lorrae Van Kerkhoff
· ANU Vice-President (First Nations) Professor Peter Yu AM.
For more information, please visit the Water Justice Hub website.