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Bunbury Regional Art Gallery



With accelerating momentum, contemporary artists are shifting the conceptual focus of their practices to address the intensifying crisis of Australia’s diminishing water supply. Alongside scientists and environmentalists, artists have historically presented as some of the first responders to this crisis, bearing witness to its effects through creative expression. Groundswell: Recent movements within art and territory showcases a selection of powerful reactions with particular focus on creeping changes to the Northern Territory’s water supply. It charts these changes by grouping artistic responses thematically into the prevailing resource issues of Access, Contamination, Scarcity and Culture.

Groundswell features over twenty works by Northern Territory artists including Jacky Green, Kelly Lee Hickey, June Mills, Aly de Groot, Patricia Phillipus Napurrula, Lee Harrop, Maicie Lalara, Mel Robson, Jennifer Taylor and Tarzan JungleQueen.

The works in Groundswell extend through vast geographies, perspectives and artistic mediums to stake their claim, spanning moving image, visualised data, painting, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture. These works find commonality in their shared determination to bridge the message of each individual artist to our collectively shared concerns as Northern Territory citizens.

Diverse in aesthetic but united in unambiguous concern for Country, Groundswell showcases works of formidable creativity and palpable substance. For this reason, its significance does not lie solely in its lucid demands but lies equally within its art historical context. Through these works we can identify the compelling first steps of an artistic movement in its own right. As streams form rivers, individual artworks combine to form a collective force. A groundswell has occurred.

This is the third exhibition to be produced as part of the SPARK NT Curator Program, an Artback NT initiative which supports an independent or emerging curator, residing in the Northern Territory, to develop an exhibition project for tour.

Groundswell has toured the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and for its final show makes its way to Western Australia.


Carlo Ansaldo is a writer, activist and arts worker based in Darwin, Northern Territory. They holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) from the Queensland College of Art and a Bachelor of Arts, Honours (Extended major in Art History) from the University of Queensland. Their research analyses the intersection between visual arts and political engagement with a focus on First Nations art practices and remote and regional arts development. Carlo has worked in remote and regional art centres within the Northern Territory and Western Australia, as well as major arts institutions such as the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art.

As a collaborator, Ansaldo works with artists, activists and community members to critique and expand upon current relationships between the arts, politics and culture within the epoch of climate catastrophe. Groundswell: recent movements within art and territory is Carlo's debut curatorial project.

This touring exhibition will be on display at BRAG from 17 August to 20 August 2023. The gallery is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10am to 4pm. Entry is always free.

Image: Niall Barrington, 'Running Out' (detail), 2019, mixed media. 

This project was funded by the Northern Territory Government, the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and Catalyst – the Australian Arts and Culture Fund.