Groundswell: Recent movements within art and territory

04/09/2020 - 27/08/2023

  • Cycads
    Winsome Jobling Cycads , 2020
    Recycled frames, plaster, wire, plastic, paint and desert sand
    21.5 x 16.5cm
    Image Credit
    Courtesy of the Artist

About the exhibition

With accelerating momentum, contemporary artists are shifting the conceptual focus of their practices to address the intensifying crisis of Australia’s diminishing water supply. Alongside scientists and environmentalists, artists have historically presented as some of the first responders to this crisis, bearing witness to its effects through creative expression. Groundswell: Recent movements within art and territory showcases a selection of powerful reactions with particular focus on creeping changes to the Northern Territory’s water supply. It charts these changes by grouping artistic responses thematically into the prevailing resource issues of Access, Contamination, Scarcity and Culture.

Diverse in aesthetic beauty but united in unambiguous concern for country, Groundswell showcases works of formidable creativity and palpable substance. For this reason, its significance does not lie solely in its lucid demands but lies equally within its art historical context. Through these works we can identify the compelling first steps of an artistic movement in its own right. As streams form rivers, individual artworks combine to form a collective force. A groundswell has occurred.


About the artists

Curated by Carlo Ansaldo, Groundswell features over twenty works by Northern Territory artists including Jacky Green, Winsome Jobling, Kelly Lee Hickey, June Mills, Aly de Groot, Patricia Phillipus Napurrula, Lee Harrop, Maicie Lalara, Mel Robson, Jennifer Taylor and Tarzan Jungle Queen. The works in Groundswell extend through vast geographies, perspectives and artistic mediums to stake their claim, spanning visualised data to ceramics, oil painting to recycled sculpture and printmaking to stand-up comedy. These works find commonality in their shared determination to bridge the message of each individual artist to our collectively shared concerns as Northern Territory citizens. In this way, visual culture is harnessed to agitate for the paradigm shift we so desperately need if we are to preserve our most precious resource into an uncertain future.

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