Water and Earth Are All One Thing

Ada Nangala Dixon - Napa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming.

By Jed Lanyon

Hearth Galleries unveiled its newest exhibition on Wednesday 4 December titled, ‘Water and Earth Are All One Thing’.

The exhibition is an exploration of water, its significance in Jukurrpa (Dreaming and Creation stories), art and culture, while highlighting the interrelatedness between water, earth and aquatic life form and the active character of water as creator and provider.

The exhibition features the works of many local Victorian artists such as Graham Patterson, Emma Stenhouse, Kim Wandin, Jacqui Wandin, Merilyn Duff and Nikki Browne as well as artists from Baluk Arts and Young Arts.

The gallery is also highlighting the works of interstate artists, Danny Riley and artists from Waralungku Art Centre (Borroloola), Ed Wanganeen (Yorke Peninsula) who is the father of former AFL star Gavin Wanganeen, as well as Warlukurlangu Artists (Yuendumu and Nyirripi).

Gallery curator Christine Joy will be hosting free curator talks to give visitors a greater understanding of the exhibition.

“One of the objectives of the exhibition is that we can all learn to understand the precious nature of water,” Ms Joy said.

“We’ve seen in the media, there have been plenty of stories about the lack of ability to control or manage water with a western point of view. And that is that water is seen as a resource and to be used by us.

“In Aboriginal culture, it’s seen to be an entity unto itself. It’s a creator… Anything that is a creator, there is going to be sacred elements to that.

“You would never want to hurt a creator, you respect a creator, you acknowledge it as being sacred and you actively look to protect it.”

Ms Joy said ‘Water and Earth Are All One Thing’ will explore the principle of reciprocity, much like Hearth Galleries’ last exhibition, ‘Seeds of Creation’, which explored plants and their seed in Aboriginal Dreaming Stories.

“You only take as much as you need, then you share what you take, and then you give back…This idea of reciprocity is about giving so that you can receive,” she said.

“We don’t have anything like that at all. We plant something and we take, or we farm animals and we take.

“These are the sorts of reasons why we are in this ecological disaster. We have climate change, erosion, habitat breakdown, etcetera.

“And we’re in denial about that, we don’t really see it. But right now in New South Wales they can see it, because the state is burning.

“But until we’re in a disaster like that, we don’t really acknowledge it.

“I really believe that the only way we’re going to improve on these things is listening to Indigenous people.”

From mid-December, the gallery will feature both sculptures of local Wurundjeri women Jacqui Wandin and Aunty Kim Wandin whose work was shortlisted for the Yering Station Sculpture Exhibition and Awards.

Aunty Kim’s red eel trap and Jaqcui’s water carrying burl both tie in well to the exhibition’s theme of looking at our connection to water.

Hearth Galleries is located at 208 Maroondah Highway Healesville and the exhibition will be open until February. Ms Joy’s curator talks will take place on 24 January and 22 February.

For more information, visit https://www.christinejoycuration.com.au/.

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