Barka, The Forgotten River | A collaboration between Badger Bates, Justine Muller and the Wilcannia community
June 12 — November 21
Barka, the forgotten River reflects the love artists Badger Bates and Justine Muller have for the Barka, or Darling River – “our mother and the blood in our veins” – and its people, the Barkandji.
Indigenous peoples across the globe looked after their environment in a sustained manner for thousands of years; nowhere was a system so sophisticated than with the first peoples of Australia. Throughout time conventions, world summits, protocols have tried to protect her, our environment, our habitat, to little or no avail. At a local level, the exhaustion of the individuals fighting on their own ground, in this case to save the Barka-Darling River, is palpable.
Poetic and political at once, the works of Badger Bates and Justine Muller reach to the past to inform the future, because all time is one. Motivated by a deep concern for the collapse and near-disappearance of the Barka-Darling River – something that will have ripple effects Australia-wide – works in the exhibition by Badger span the past two decades combined with Muller’s more recent responses to the region and its people. They take the form of ceramics, leadlight, lino print, wood and steel sculpture, and painting, in addition to a multi-media installation.
Badger and Muller ask us to listen, and act. Their works are not of despair, they are works of strength, compassion and resilience, and through them they invite the rest of Australia to partake in a story that is no longer local but global. Ineke Dane, Curator
Touring from Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery