Past Exhibitions at Kluge-Ruhe

Nici Cumpston: having-been-there

Nici Cumpston, Leopard Tree II, 2011.January 17 – May 18, 2014

This exhibition featured the photographs of Nici Cumpston (Adelaide), an artist and curator of Barkindji, Afghan, Irish and English heritage. having-been-there is a series of images created by Cumpston that documents the evidence of Aboriginal occupation in Australia before European settlement. Cumpston uses tree engravings, ring trees, and remnants of stone tools abound in Barkindji land; these act as subtle signifiers of the ancestors that once lived in and created the country, and of food and water sources that ensured survival. Further, they serve as undeniable proof of Aboriginal people “having been there,” before and amidst the colonial assertion of terra nullius, the idea that Australia was a “land without people.” Additionally, they are records of the Murray-Darling Basin river system’s natural beauty, as well as its gradual destruction from pollution, salination, and re-routing. A film on Cumpston’s residency can be found here.

Click here to download a copy of the brochure that accompanied the exhibition.

Presented in partnership with Australia Council for the Arts.