RONA18 – Regional Response Gallery

RONA18 has been designed to promote cultural engagement with the emerging, global, Rights of Nature movement, and to celebrate the Australian Peoples’ Tribunal (APT) for Community and Nature’s Rights, which is being held on Saturday 27th October 2018 in Brisbane.  AELA’s intention is to blend the creative re-interpretation of environmental governance with cultural responses to the rights of the natural world to exist, thrive and evolve.

Read more about the 2018 Australian Peoples’ Tribunal, and scroll down to explore the creative responses to the Rights of Nature.

About the Artists and Works

Liz Barker, Louisa Miranda, and Thomas Dick

Statement by Liz Barker:

As an artist, I make creek prints in rivers. I stand ankle or shin deep in the water and place my paper on the waters surface and gently peel it off again. I then dry and varnish them. The prints are beautiful and lyrical and they sing songs of the river. Songs of decay. Songs of new life. Songs of cycles. The surface scum is made up of phytoplankton, which is the base of the oceanic food web. Collectively these microscopic organisms while floating around on the surface level of the worlds oceans and waterways, provide up to 80% of the worlds oxygen through photosynthesis. This surface scum is source of all life on this planet. It is in this way that the creek prints are guiding me into the world of science. Perhaps they are the maps themselves. Landmarks along the way. They are non linear pathways, maps to unknown places, maps of the river themselves. A glimpse of the beauty of the whole. A journey back to wholeness.

This is a collaborative exhibition that explores these meandering maps and pathways. My creek prints are featured in digital format for the first time, presented on a large screen. But this exhibition is primarily about giving an aesthetic expression to Tom’s PhD research. Finding ways to make parts of his findings more accessible through visual means. Tom and I are aligned in our values and views of the world. Yet somehow we come from very different angles to reach the same perspective. Working with artist, poet and dancer Louisa Miranda the three of us are curating his research. Curating science into art. Tom, Louisa and I worked together in Bangkok making prints like these from the overburdened waterways around the city. Almost 20 years have passed and this exhibition marks our creative and scientific reunion.

Along with the prints we take sonic recordings of the submarine environment, documenting more-than- human entanglements with the riparian setting through poetry and creative writing, while scientifically analysing the health of the waterways over time.

See: Thomas Dick ‘Reconciling kastom, tourism, and art in the Pacific: the case of the Leweton Cultural Group and “water music”‘ available at

Regional Event in Lismore, New South Wales

October 8 – October 25
Southern Cross University Library (Lismore Campus)

She the River

A curatorial collaboration by Liz Barker, Louisa Miranda, and Thomas Dick.
For more details, see the artist’s Facebook page: The Planet Spins.

Karen Benjamin

Plant Matters by Karen BenjaminKaren Benjamin is an environmental artist who works with items that others discard from plastic bags to fallen gumnuts. Plant Matters is a series of un-noticed twigs, wood and seedpods made into a playful array of bright items and characters. Breathing new live into something usually found under your foot.
Karen Benjamin Instagram

How my art relates to the RONA18 themes:

Plant Matters address the themes of RONA18 by highlighting the benefits of nature, by giving it a face and drawing the viewer in with bright colours and in a non-confronting way. Hopefully this will engage the audience longer and therefore they may think about the environment in a boarder way than before.

Jorge Cantellano

EdibleScapes is a land arts exhibition in open sky, in a community parkland. Inspired by antique ‘Geoglyph’ figures, which are a component of ancestral arts and primordial sacred shapes, and are sometimes expressed in mandala forms.

The figures in the EdibleScapes mandala gardens are a site adaptation of the Solar and Lunar calendar, which was–and is–used in agro-ecology since time immemorial.

Susan Gourley

Nature by Susan GourleyNature utilises the interchangeable relations in rubbish to explore the culture/nature rift emerging from Enlightenment narratives associated with Christianity and science traditions that continue to influence white Australian culture. This includes the illusionary separation between the notion of civilised man and nature imposed by logic and reason. The result is destructive practices and attitudes that underline the world’s current ecological crisis. Here, the idea of nature becomes an intellectual construct, reduced to a word, and presented in the technological form of a man-made sign. Incorporating discarded large-sized educational foam tiles becomes a visual metaphor, highlighting the need to re-educate ourselves and our relationship to nature in white Australian culture.

Susan Gourley Instagram

How my art relates to the RONA18 themes:

My practice investigates Eurocentric and anthropocentric ideologies towards nature tracing back to British invasion and colonisation, revealing their impact. Proceeding through arts-based research, I explore the visual metaphor of salvaged material by combining the handcrafted and mimetic qualities of trompe l’oeil with the junk aesthetic of the unmonumental. As a white Australian woman, I have adopted a self-reflexive and interpretative response to question colonial history, and challenge dominant ideologies underpinning white Australian attitudes and practices toward the natural terrain. My intention to be open to new ways of thinking about the connection to land and self, initiated by cross-cultural narratives missing from dominant forms of discourse. The purpose is to draw attention to white Australian’s moral responsibility to developing and maintaining healthy, respectful and sustainable relationships with Aboriginal peoples and the natural environment for all future generations.

Julia Peddie

A magpie, ginger stalks paintingMy work bears witness to the abundance and interconnectedness of Life. I live on an organic farm demonstrating the regenerative soil-restorative practice of Agroforestry from Brazil. Offering an infinite and ever-changing pallet of colour, form and beauty, the farm provides the inspiration, the set and the muse for my work. Everyday I ask, how on earth did all this grow from seed? It was only a paddock less than a year ago.

How my art relates to the RONA18 themes:

Agroforestry recreates the forest floor and stimulates mycelium growth and soil regeneration. It is a relatively ‘new’ farming methodology that speaks directly to the People’s Tribunal exploring how food systems can restore biodiversity and soil health in Australia.

Margaret Worthington

Tree Kangaroo Storybook CoverTree Kangaroos have always fascinated me. During my visit to Far North Queensland (FNQ) in January, I stayed with a Tree Kangaroo carer and I was able to touch, watch and learn about Tree Kangaroos. I became close to two very special animals: Dobby, a young male, just learning about tree climbing, and Kimberley, a female with a young in her pouch. I also spent time exploring the Crater Lakes National Park, watching birds and studying plants.I took photos, walked, sketched and made notes. I had in mind a series of watercolour paintings for an exhibition. I returned home to my studio and painted. When I looked at the work; the paintings had a gentle narrative and developed into a book. Dobby, Young Tree Kangaroo, is a children’s book but I hope adults enjoy it as well or buy it as a gift. It is a visual diary, and I wanted to capture how special Tree Kangaroos and other inhabitants are to the ecosystem of the Tablelands Wet Rainforest.

Regional Event in Cairns, Queensland

Exhibition – September 24th – October 14th 2018, Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre

Waders scultpureThis exhibition will consist of the Dobby, Young Tree Kangaroo book, watercolour paintings of my visit to Far North Queensland and mixed media sculptures fabricated by Margaret Worthington and Clive Rouse.

Gemma Wright

Continuum Effectum by Gemma Wright. Photo by Raoul Slater.The ancient spirit of the water returns to charge the change in twisting tides. A copper and natural fiber spiral of eternal life reflects from the waters reminding us of what was, what will be and what is here now. Revered by ancient cultures, the triskelion is re-found and offers connective flow with life, the universe and everything.

Continuum Effectum infers momentum. An acceptance and invitation for action and reflection of the continual change that is ever present; unity of cause and effect. Continuum Effectum is an invitation to people to connect with creation, manifestation and the cycles of life.

The Triskele is not something new, but offers value in being re-found. Said to have the ability to neutralise harmful energy, balancing yin and yang.

What do you see in the cycles of life? Three spiral are interconnected with no open ends, each in balance and harmony and continual motion indicative of the flow of life, its seasons and cycles. Where are they spinning from and towards? And how can Continuum Effectum assist the positive manifestation of the future? With many variations to its meaning, change lies in the eyes, hearts and minds of the beholder.

Gemma Wright Instagram

Regional Event in Nambour, Queensland

Saturday 27th October, 9am – 5pm, Nambour Community Centre

Earth Arts Festival Poster
The Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) is hosting Rights of Nature Australia 2018 (RONA18), a series of connected events that explore and promote the rights of nature to exist, thrive and evolve. RONA18 involves a Peoples Tribunal and arts events around Australia, during October.

Sunshine Coast artists have responded with an Earth Arts Festival, bringing together the Arts and Sustainable Living. Join us for a drug & alcohol free, family fun day, at the Nambour Community Centre.

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