Turbulent Water

10 December 2021 – 8 May 2022

Turbulent Water was the first solo Australian exhibition of internationally acclaimed artist Rebecca Belmore. A member of the Lac Seul First Nation (Anishinaabe), Belmore was born in 1960 in Upsala, Canada, and currently lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Turbulent Water brought together several key installations from the artist’s multi-disciplinary practice that address social and political issues faced by Indigenous communities, as well as connections between bodies, land and language. Works in Turbulent Water used the medium of video innovatively, questioning official narratives and highlighting the labouring, struggling or missing body. They drew us in with images that were visually seductive and allegorically resonant.

Water was a central motif in this exhibition, carrying both the symbolic power associated with the cycle of life and death that frames human experience and its material power as a precious natural resource required to care for the land.

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In this exhibition, the viewer is positioned as a witness to the universal truths of empathy, hope and transformation. 

The artist’s body is a constant presence, enabling her to explore boundaries between public and private; power relations in contemporary society; and the effects of colonisation on Indigenous people, especially women. These themes also parallel in many ways the historical and contemporary experiences of Australian Indigenous peoples.

Canada and Australia have many things in common, including a Westminster-based parliamentary system of government and membership of the Commonwealth. They also share a history of colonisation and the forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples.

Turbulent Water is co-curated by Wanda Nanibush, Curator of Indigenous Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and Angela Goddard, Griffith University Art Museum Director.

Turbulent Water is presented with Observance, an exhibition featuring six First Nations female artists with strong culturally led practices.  



Download exhibition artwork labels to suit your viewing needs.


Image credit: Rebecca Belmore Fountain 2005 (Still) Collection: Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Image courtesy the artist.