WONNARUA 2020 I Ryan Andrew Lee

“My video diptych juxtaposes living portraits of five Aboriginal people from the Wonnarua Nation with drone shots of the vast Muswellbrook coal mines situated in the heart of the Wonnarua Nation.

I want to provoke discussion around themes of Indigenous ways of living in juxtaposition with the Western Settler-state system’s unsustainable and damaging ways of using stolen lands. In today’s current global state of environmental (and cultural, communal and spiritual) emergency, the need to embrace traditional Indigenous knowledge is more crucial than ever before.

The traditional custodians of these lands have sustainably looked after country for over 90,000 years, yet in the short 231 years since colonisation these lands have been abused and sold for profit while the Aboriginal people and culture along with their vast knowledge for country and sustainable land management methods have been suppressed and put to the side.

Thank you to Michael Heitmeyer and the young men shown in Wonnarua for permission to display this work at Maitland Regional Art Gallery.”

– Ryan Andrew Lee