Karen Noble, Therese Ritchie, 2017, digital print on Ilford Monofibre Silk, 84 x 56cm

OPEN CUT – An exhibition by Jacky Green, Therese Ritchie and Seán Kerins opens at the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art in Darwin from 5 to 26 August 2017.

Aboriginal people have occupied and managed the southwest Gulf Country of the Northern Territory for tens of thousands of years.

Today, they make up almost 90 per cent of the region’s population and hold property rights over vast areas of the Gulf Country. Just like their ancestors, they continue to maintain a significant reliance on the environment for their livelihoods and wellbeing. Yet, despite this they have little voice in how the region’s land, waters and natural resources are used, how they are valued, or how they will be managed in the future.

This has resulted in the costs and benefits associated with large-scale development in the region being distributed unequally. While substantial benefits flow outside the region, it is the region’s Aboriginal people who bear the cost of development as they experience the contamination of their territories and food resources from mining activity.

After 150 years of white development it’s time for environmental justice in the southwest Gulf, for fair treatment and meaningful involvement of Aboriginal people with respect to development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies in their ancestral lands. The goal must be a fair distribution of the environmental benefits and costs.

Kyeika Neade, Therese Ritchie, 2017, digital print on Ilford Monofibre Silk, 84 x 56cm
Jacky Green, Therese Ritchie, 2017, digital print on Ilford Monofibre Silk, 84 x 56cm
Nancy McDinny, Therese Ritchie, 2017, digital print on Ilford Monofibre Silk, 84 x 56cm

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Open Cut
Jacky Green, Therese Ritchie & Seán Kerins
Thursday 10 August 2017 6pm
Public programs: Artist panel, Saturday 12 August 12 noon; other public programs tba.

An exhibition of photographic portraits by Therese Ritchie forms the core of the exhibition, supported by paintings by Jacky Green. The works overall represent a collection of Garawa voices from Borroloola in the Gulf region of the NT in response to the impact of development and mining in particular on their country. Ritchie’s portraits continue a recent development in her photo-based practice where the body of the subject/sitter is inscribed with text that has been chosen/stated by the sitter; the works are highly collaborative in their construction and in this case facilitated by Jacky Green and Seán Kerins, a Canberra-based anthropologist who has researched and written extensively on the Gulf region and related cultural and economic issues, and who has previously collaborated with Jacky Green to present exhibitions in Melbourne and Canberra.

This show is to coincide with the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery NT, Darwin; part of Darwin Festival program.