Meet Barka, in the new First Nations exhibition Barka: The Forgotten River developed by Uncle Badger Bates and Justine Muller with the Barkandji community. Barka (the Darling River) is more than a body of water; Barka is a mother, an Ancestor, a life source, and in peril, along with everyone that lives along it.
Find out more in this exhibition which focusses on the stories, culture and people who have Barka running in their veins. Through a mix of multidisciplinary works including linoprints, wood and steel sculptures, oil paintings, and multi-media installations, Barka: The Forgotten River advocates for the health and future of Barka.
The health of Barka affects us all. Learn how you can support the river, by listening to those that have cared for it since time immemorial.
Barka: The Forgotten River now on. Entry is free, thanks to the generous support from The Balnaves Foundation.
Above artwork: 'Barka' print on paper © Uncle Badger Bates
Understand Barka through the themes of the exhibition
In Our Veins
Barka is the life blood of not only the Barkandji people and culture but the whole of NSW. Its waters support Country environmentally, culturally and socially.
Image: Aerial of the Menindee Lakes and surrounding areas. Photographer: Abram Powell © Australian Museum
When we respect and look after Country we are practicing good culture or Lore. When Lore is kept, the Barka is healthy, and everyone along the river is healthy: the people, plants, and animals.
Image: Copi Hollow part of the Menindee Lake system that feeds Barka (Darling River). Photographer: Abram Powell © Australian Museum
Barkandji people have lived and thrived along the river for thousands of years, using sustainable land management practices and being guided by culture.
Climate change, land and water mismanagement mean that everyone along the river is suffering. This is the result of acting without culture, but there is always time to help Country.
Image: Cracked earth texture in Kinchega National Park. Photographer: Abram Powell © Australian Museum
Listen to the people who have loved Barka for generations, their joyful memories of a healthy clean river, their sorrow at its current state, and be spurred to action by their ongoing fight for Barka.
Artwork: Aunty Ngearie Cattomol portrait for Barka: The Forgotten River exhibition. Oil paint on found tin by Justine Muller. © Justine Muller
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