Used to be a river 2019 (32°24'50"S 150°38'27"E)
Installation with 2-channel HD video, fibreglass canoe,
native flora and Ulan coal
6:45mins Dimensions variable
Image courtesy Jessie Jane Photography
This work tracks the dry bed of the so-called Goulburn River (named by settlers after a British politician in the 1820’s). This is a river racked with the effects of irrigation, tributary re-direction, water theft, mining, and land misuse – all the result of colonisation. The work is at once an indictment, an act of mourning, and a claim for land reparation and renewal. Used to be a river also counters the pervasive (and insidious) Western understanding of water as non-sentient. The artist acknowledges and pays deep respect to the Wiradjuri & Wonnarua Peoples upon whose ancestral Lands this work was produced.