Art Gallery of Ballarat 'Nature Works' Exhibition: August 5th - November 7th 2021
Comments on this exhibition from the Art Gallery of Ballarat:
"We are marking World Rivers Day by sharing ‘Revival’, one of the landscape works by artist Stella Clarke in our Backspace exhibition ‘Nature works’.
Clarke writes, "When I walk along by a creek or river, I remember that it has tried to run its course - flooding and receding like breathing - forever; I think about what that means. We know water is essential to life, but there is a growing awareness, in this country prone to aridity and drought, that for a couple of centuries we have not truly understood the role of rivers.
"It is certainly not habitual to us to think of waterways as having their own being, and right to exist. Our society conceives of water in other ways: as a resource to be extracted, bought, sold and controlled; as something of little intrinsic value; as something that must make way for development or industry or just as ornament in the landscape. The health of our rivers now endures multiple human-made stressors.
“Shifts in global thinking are underway that are exciting. World Rivers Day is one fantastic aspect of this movement. In Australia, we all have the opportunity to connect with First Nations’ practices that see the health of river systems as intimately connected to the wellbeing of people, culture and country.
“Though I am not religious, I know millions of people around the world heard the powerful call for ecological revolution in Pope Francis’ Encyclical of 2015, ‘On Care for Our Common Home’.
“Internationally, re-wilding initiatives, along with warnings from environmentalists and scientists have, for some time, been breaking through, so there is plenty of reason to be hopeful.
“My small paintings of our local creeklands are not so much about aesthetics as ways of connecting to the fragile life of water and the need for us to harmonise with the natural rhythms that let reviving waters wash through our sunbaked land, to support the thriving of abundant species.” "