Ryan Andrew Lee


Wonnarua is a contemplative moving image installation work that aims to provoke discussion around themes of Indigenous ways of living in juxtaposition with western settler-state system's unsustainable, damaging ways of using stolen lands.

The video diptych contrasts living portraits of five Aboriginal people from the Wonnarua Nation with drone shots of the vast Muswellbrook coal mines, which are situated in the heart of the Wonnarua Nation. The frame in which the video work sits is an 1820's antique Victorian era influenced design which correlates with the exact time period that European settlers first reached Muswellbrook, Wonnarua Country. The symbolic frame also metaphorically acknowledges the paradox of living in and between the two worlds and addresses a subtle hypocrisy; the act of critiquing Western systems although at the same time living and breathing them.

The moving image work is a plea for profound enquiry into how Country is currently being managed, and alludes the simple remedy is to return to traditional First Nation’s sustainable practices for caring for Country.

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Exhibition on display from September 4 - October 1, 2021