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River on the Brink: inside the Murray-Darling Basin

  • This event finished on 17 November 2019


BADGER BATES – Barka The forgotten river and the desecration of the Menindee Lakes 2011 linocut print 60 x 45cm

This timely exhibition presented in collaboration with Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery, focuses on what is the most pressing environmental crisis of our time:  the on-going devastation of the Murray-Darling Basin.

Historically, the Murray-Darling Basin has long been subjected to the natural extremes of flood and drought along with periods of equilibrium. However, in this age of climate change and the on-going  mismanagement of precious water resources, the Basin’s river systems have been decimated and peoples well-being destroyed. The recent apocalyptic fish kill in the Darling River triggered a national outcry. Now is the time to address this environmental emergency and demand real lasting action at the highest levels. The water held captive by commercial interests must be released to rejuvenate the rivers, and bring life back into the Basin.

River on the Brink is a creative response by indigenous and non-indigenous artists, committed to the well -being of the fragile interconnected riverine systems that make up the great Murray-Darling Basin.  With the Darling River teetering on the brink, it’s time to re-think the industrial agricultural enterprise responsible for much of the on-going environmental degradation of Western New South Wales.

Art has a way of penetrating the hearts and minds of people prepared to pause and look. Led by Barkindji artists, the powerful and compelling images on display reinforce the need to act now and save our vital waterways.

The artists featured in River on the Brink include Badger Bates, Elisabeth Cummings, Nici Cumpston, Ruby Davies, Bonita Ely, Paul Harmon, Julie Harris, Eddy Harris, Kim Harris, Waddy Harris, Brian Harris, Amanda Penrose Hart, Martin King, Euan Macleod, Guy Maestri, Ian Marr, Justine Muller, Idris Murphy, NOT, Ben Quilty, Luke Sciberras, James Tylor, John R Walker, Melissa Williams-Brown.

River on the Brink e-Catalogue


Curated by Gavin Wilson


Rivers of despair at loss of Darling – John McDonald, The Sydney Morning Herald – Spectrum 5 October

Art follows course of rivers’ neglect – Christopher Allen, The Australian – Review 12 October

Farewell to the rivers of life and a dying planet – Elizabeth Farrelly, The Sydney Morning Herald 28 September

Murray-Darling art exhibition hopes to raise awareness of ‘national disgrace’ – Philippa McDonald and Sarah Thomas ABC News 19 September

Gavin Wilson talks about the exhibition River on the Brink – Elizabeth Fortescue, The Daily Telegraph

Drowning in heartbreak – Elizabeth Fortescue, The Daily Telegraph 19 September

River on the Brink: inside the Murray-Darling Basin – Barnaby Smith, Art Guide Australia

The exhibition was opened by Mr Geoff Cousins AM

Sunday afternoons @ the Gallery

Sunday 13 October at 3pm – Join Gavin Wilson the curator of River on the Brink for an informative exhibition floor talk.

Sunday 27 October at 3pm – Euan Macleod and John R Walker, exhibiting artists in River on the Brink,  join us for a conversation about their experiences of the Darling River.

Sunday 3 November at 3pm – Exhibiting artists Idris Murphy and Justine Muller have longstanding connections to the Barkinji people and will join us to share their stories about the significance of the Darling River to its people.


Geoff Cousins AM opens River on the Brink: inside the Murray-Darling Basin

Film credit: Daniel Todd

featured image: RUBY DAVIES Water as life: the town of Wilcannia and the Darling/Baaka 20 August 2007