Artback NT presents Groundswell

Event Opens:   September 4, 2020

Event Closes:   January 28, 2024

Event Website:

Location:  Venues across Australia

Event Details:

Maicie Lalara’s epic Yilkwa – Monster Fish is part of a touring exhibition making its way around the Northern Territory and Queensland. The exhibition will span thousands of kilometres and many months, not unlike the journey of the ghost nets Maicie weaves from.

‘I’m weaving a monster fish from the nets from our beach on Groote Eylandt. The net floats from overseas to our beaches. We are using the net to make fish and turtles and baskets. Like the net travels for days and months, and washing to our land. The Anindilyakwa rangers collects it, the ghost net and rubbish, and sorts it out and gives it to us art ladies.’

Maicie Lalara holds two of her Monster Fish creations at the 2020 annual Clean Up Groote Eylandt Day hosted by the Anindilyakwa Land & Sea Rangers.

‘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.

Installation view. Image courtesy of Northern Centre for Contemporary Art.

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. In this way, visual culture is harnessed to agitate for the paradigm shift we so desperately need if we are to preserve our most precious resource into an uncertain future.

Yilkwa – Monster Fish, 2019, Maicie Lalara, reclaimed ghost net and sea debris.

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.’ (Artback NT)

See the itinerary on Artback NT’s website or below:
UPDATE: new venues and locations added, now touring nationally until 2024!

Northern Centre for Contemporary Art
Darwin, NT
Start: 4 September 2020
End: 10 October 2020

Araluen Art Centre
Alice Springs, NT
Start: 5 March 2021
End: 26 April 2021

Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre
Tennant Creek, NT
Start: 15 May 2021
End: 31 July 2021

Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts & Culture Centre
Katherine, NT
Start: 2 October 2021
End: 13 November 2021

Perc Tucker Regional Gallery
Townsville, QLD
Start: 11 February 2022
End: 1 May 2022

Wondai Regional Art Gallery
Wondai, QLD
Start: 3 June 2022
End: 29 June 2022

Shoalhaven Regional Gallery
Nowra, NSW
Start: 4 March 2023
End: 22 April 2023

Bunbury Regional Art Gallery
Bunbury, WA
Start: 7 October 2023
End: 28 January 2024