Activism

Added on by Lisa Reidy.

 

I work with the Williams River Valley Artists’ Project (WRVAP), a collective of environmentally-alarmed Australian contemporary artists. Juliet Fowler Smith formed WRVAP in 2009 to oppose an ill-conceived $400 million dam on the Williams River near Dungog, 200 km north of Sydney. The proposed dam at Tillegra would have flooded kilometres of river valley, precious eco-systems and indigenous/settler histories, destroyed the livelihoods and social fabric of local communities and wiped ‘Manns Hill’ - the property farmed for five generations by Juliet’s family - from the map. After years of sustained grass-roots opposition and a rising tide of public dismay, plans for the Tillegra Dam were eventually shelved by the NSW government in late 2010. 

In 2012 we turned our attention to another pressing regional, now decidedly global, environmental issue - the insidious, elephantine threat of Big Coal and CSG - linking up with campaigns by Lock the Gate, Front Line Action on Coal, Protect Gloucester and 350.org. 

To date WRVAP has mounted eight exhibitions (three at NSW regional galleries) and published two agit-prop newspaper/catalogues: The Stuttering Frog #1 for the exhibition Cry Me a River (2010); The Stuttering Frog #2 for Leave It in the Ground (2013). A pamphlet accompanied Instruments of Democracy (2015), WRVAP's performance + installation for Cementa15 in Kandos. WRVAP participated in BreakFree on Newcastle Harbour in May 2016, and created the anti-fossil-fuel installation While We Sleep for Gary Warner's Fieldwork: Artist Encounters show at Sydney College of the Arts, in Julywilliamsrivervalley.blogspot.com.au charts our regional residencies, research, exhibition, performance and publishing activities in some detail. Below is some of the work I've done with WRVAP since 2009.

WRVAP is Juliet Fowler Smith, Noelene Lucas, Margaret Roberts, Neil Berecry-Brown, Suzanne Bartos, Toni Warburton, Sue Callanan and David Watson. Others including Ruby Davies, Bridget Nicholson, Bonita Ely, Ian Milliss, Christine McMillan, Glenn Albrecht, Aidan Ricketts, Jo Holder, Sharyn Munro, Julia Mullins, Colin Imrie, Ann Finegan, Graham Cochrane, Chris Ward, Tony Fuery and Denise Corrigan have enriched WRVAP’s fabric along the way.

williamsrivervalley.blogspot.com.au

  Instruments of Democracy, 2015 Performance objects - metal, cardboard, mixed media 10 performances in Kandos Scout Hall, 9-12 April 2015, for Cementa15 contemporary arts biennial This short, empathetic performance by WRVAP artists was inspired by the courage, ingenuity, discipline and stamina of environmental activists from all walks of life 'locking-on' against new coal and CSG. The piece, acknowledging the role of witnessing in non-violent direct action, was accompanied by an installation of 40 activist portraits along with individual works by WRVAP artists.

 

Instruments of Democracy, 2015

Performance objects - metal, cardboard, mixed media

10 performances in Kandos Scout Hall, 9-12 April 2015, for Cementa15 contemporary arts biennial

This short, empathetic performance by WRVAP artists was inspired by the courage, ingenuity, discipline and stamina of environmental activists from all walks of life 'locking-on' against new coal and CSG. The piece, acknowledging the role of witnessing in non-violent direct action, was accompanied by an installation of 40 activist portraits along with individual works by WRVAP artists.

David Watson, Australian Navigators, 2015   Australia Post's original Australian Navigators series (1963) featured Cook, Tasman, Flinders et al.  My '21st-century navigators' are Australians putting their lives on the line against fossil fuel. Locking-on to protest Whitehaven Coal's Maules Ck mine in north-western NSW (l. to r.) are Australian rugby union legend David Pocock, fifth-generation local farmer Rick Laird, and 23-yr-old student Chantelle Brown from Wauchope. The stamps re-deploy activist images shot by Front Line Action on Coal in late 2014. Thank you David & Emma Pocock, Rick Laird, Chantelle Brown & Chelsea Miller [Chantelle locked-on to 'the echidna'] for letting me use your images.

David Watson, Australian Navigators, 2015
 

Australia Post's original Australian Navigators series (1963) featured Cook, Tasman, Flinders et al. 
My '21st-century navigators' are Australians putting their lives on the line against fossil fuel. Locking-on to protest Whitehaven Coal's Maules Ck mine in north-western NSW (l. to r.) are Australian rugby union legend David Pocock, fifth-generation local farmer Rick Laird, and 23-yr-old student Chantelle Brown from Wauchope. The stamps re-deploy activist images shot by Front Line Action on Coal in late 2014. Thank you David & Emma Pocock, Rick Laird, Chantelle Brown & Chelsea Miller [Chantelle locked-on to 'the echidna'] for letting me use your images.

Ransom Note (with Denise Corrigan), 2013 Typography sampled from the logos of leading global warmers


Ransom Note (with Denise Corrigan), 2013
Typography sampled from the logos of leading global warmers

Checkout + Ransom Note (with Denise Corrigan), 2013 Powerpoint (20 images), audio, on iMac DW speaks about Checkout + Ransom Note


Checkout + Ransom Note (with Denise Corrigan), 2013
Powerpoint (20 images), audio, on iMac
DW speaks about Checkout + Ransom Note

Mining Rash [The Drip]  2013 Pure pigment print on archival art paper mounted on 3 mm aluminium composite panel, 81 x 101 cm DW speaks about Mining Rash [The Drip]  


Mining Rash [The Drip]  2013
Pure pigment print on archival art paper mounted on

3 mm aluminium composite panel, 81 x 101 cm
DW speaks about Mining Rash [The Drip]  

  Fuse, 2013 1:100,000 maps showing proposed walk following  power grid from Rozelle to Hunter valley source  (see pp 18-19 of The Stuttering Frog #2, below)  DW speaks about Fuse 

 
Fuse, 2013
1:100,000 maps showing proposed walk following 
power grid from Rozelle to Hunter valley source 
(see pp 18-19 of The Stuttering Frog #2, below) 
DW speaks about Fuse 

Welcome Mat, 2012 Pure pigment print on archival art paper with fringing, 62 x 93 cm


Welcome Mat, 2012
Pure pigment print on archival art paper with fringing, 62 x 93 cm

  Floor Waste, 2012 Lambda print behind 6 mm perspex, 78 x 78 cm

 

Floor Waste, 2012
Lambda print behind 6 mm perspex, 78 x 78 cm

Shoo, Cockatoo!, 2012 Pure pigment print on archival art paper, 65 x 95 cm On a stock rail at ‘Tarwyn Park’ in the Bylong Valley (natural-sequence-farmer  Peter Andrews' property, under threat from Korean-backed Cockatoo Coal) sits a sulphur-crested cockatoo.  In the distance trundles a long line of coal trucks.


Shoo, Cockatoo!, 2012
Pure pigment print on archival art paper, 65 x 95 cm
On a stock rail at ‘Tarwyn Park’ in the Bylong Valley (natural-sequence-farmer 
Peter Andrews' property, under threat from

Korean-backed Cockatoo Coal) sits a sulphur-crested cockatoo. 
In the distance trundles a long line of coal trucks.

Paddling the Grid, 2010 WRVAP recce to Hexham Swamp, north of Newcastle, tracing the flow of the Williams and Hunter rivers  east to the sea


Paddling the Grid, 2010
WRVAP recce to Hexham Swamp, north of Newcastle,
tracing the flow of the Williams and Hunter rivers 
east to the sea

  DW @ WRVAP's Riparian Rites exhibition Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 2011

 

DW @ WRVAP's Riparian Rites exhibition
Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 2011

No Dam|Mad On, 2011 Pure pigment print on archival art paper, 82 x 188 cm


No Dam|Mad On, 2011
Pure pigment print on archival art paper, 82 x 188 cm

Holding Breath, 2010


Holding Breath, 2010

  Ageing Photos, Williams River, 2010 Lambda print, 15 x 22 cm

 

Ageing Photos, Williams River, 2010
Lambda print, 15 x 22 cm

  Five Walks I Couldn't Do (and may never be able to), 2010 Working sketch

 

Five Walks I Couldn't Do (and may never be able to), 2010
Working sketch

River Mourn, 2009 Lambda print behind 3 mm perspex, 59 x 45 cm


River Mourn, 2009
Lambda print behind 3 mm perspex, 59 x 45 cm

Vanishing Point, 2009 Lambda print behind 3 mm perspex, 50 x 70 cm


Vanishing Point, 2009
Lambda print behind 3 mm perspex, 50 x 70 cm