Water as Life: The Town of Wilcannia and the Darling/Baaka, 2006 by Ruby Davies

image of Water as Life: The Town of Wilcannia and the Darling/Baaka 2006 by Ruby Davies

Artist's statement

The image shows the people of Wilcannia dispersed across the waterless landscape of the Darling River in far western NSW. On the day of the photograph the river had been continually dry for a record of almost twelve months. Since the early 1990s, increasing demands for water in the tributaries of the Darling have connected this relatively isolated community to the detrimental effects of industrial-scale agriculture and world-market economies. The people of the town, who are passionately connected to the river, enthusiastically posed for the portrait. They include the Aboriginal Land Council, the Rural Fire service, the Police Department and students and teachers from the Convent and Central schools. This image explores the visual possibilities of human figures in the expanse of contemporary landscape. I am interested in the sculptural shapes of individual poses, the organic spacing of groups of people and the presence of the landscape surrounding the figures. The work speculates on human interactions with the environment into the 21st century.