Where Lakes Once Had Water

Where Lakes Once Had Water (video still detail) by Sonia Leber and David Chesworth. 2020, 2-channel 4K UHD video, stereo audio, 28:14 minutes. University of Wollongong Art Collection. CABAH Art Series Commission in partnership with Bundanon. Filmed on the lands of the Mudburra, Marlinja, Jingili, Elliot, Jawoyn and Larrakia communities in Northern Territory, Australia. 

Where Lakes Once Had Water

Sonia Leber & David Chesworth

Drill Hall Gallery

Opening 6pm Thursday 10 February 2022

10 February – 10 April 2022

In 2018 and 2019 artists Sonia Leber and David Chesworth travelled with a team of Earth and environmental scientists who were investigating changes in the climate, landscape and ecology over many millennia in the Northern Territory of Australia. Leber and Chesworth’s audio-video artwork Where Lakes Once Had Water (2020) channels this experience, in which Indigenous rangers, Elders and community members worked with the scientists in spectacular yet challenging environments. The work is a journey across audio-visual realms, scientific endeavour and traditional Indigenous knowledge, stories and custodianship – a coalescence of efforts to understand the ancient land.

Where Lakes Once Had Water is the inaugural art commission of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH). Dedicated to researching and preserving Australia’s cultural heritage and natural environment, CABAH works across disciplinary boundaries, and seeks to garner broad perspectives of the past in order to engage new audiences with the story of ‘epic Australia’.

Where Lakes Once Had Water was filmed on the lands of the Mudburra, Marlinja, Jingili, Elliot, Jawoyn and Larrakia Communities in Northern Territory, Australia.

Where to see the exhibition:

Drill Hall Gallery

Kingsley St, Acton, ACT, 10am – 5pm, Wednesday – Sunday

Sonia Leber & David Chesworth: Where Lakes Once Had Water was produced by the Education and Engagement program of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) in partnership with Bundanon.

Where Lakes Once Had Water is the first of four art commissions in a series initiated in 2018 that aims to engage artists with aspects of CABAH’s research to make new work that responds to, questions, and interprets the research for broader audiences.