Trawlwoolway artist Julie Gough follows ancestral rivers and tributaries in the Midlands of Tasmania and the absence of ancestral objects for this project. Gough has 3D printed 100 Tasmanian stone tools held in the Australian Museum collections off-Country, suspended like a shower of black rain. Footage of Gough kayaking along isolated waterways of Paranaple (Mersey river), Panatana creek, Tinamirakuna (Macquarie river) and Lokenermenanya (Clyde river) is a virtual return to Country and Riverways for the tools. The sack of river rocks collected from Paranaple (Mersey river) balance the vessel Gough used to visit these sites of un/return. The stickers of Tasmanian tools are like disturbing avatars and we are left to imagine the possibilities if only the artist was in possession of the tools. Gough is uncovering the glitches in using new technologies to repatriate facsimiles of cultural belongings. Due to Covid-19 lockdowns Gough never got to hold these stone tools handmade by her Old People.

'In boxes in state museums our Country lays by the ton. Our Ancestors’ stone tools were taken, shipped offshore. Their absence wilfully erases evidence of the longest occupation of any place by a people. How can a culture of colonists arrive, new and blind, and believe they can own the living land, its waterways, its creatures, and therefore control time, the future?'—Julie Gough


  • Title: p/re-occupied
  • Creator: Julie Gough
  • Date Created: 2022
  • Location: Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, Sydney, Australia
  • Provenance: Courtesy the artist. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from Arts Tasmania and the Australian Museum. This project has been realised in accordance with ICIP protocols (visual arts), (Janke, 2019, Australia Council) and acknowledges the custodial interest of the First Peoples of Lutruwita (Tasmania) on whose unceded lands, riverways and estuaries this work was realised.
  • Type: Installation
  • Rights: Biennale of Sydney
  • Medium: mixed media, video projection, sound, kayak, rocks (Paranaple river, Lutruwita / Tasmania), clay from Tinamirakuna (Macquarie river, Lutruwita / Tasmania), edited by Craige Langworthy
  • Edition: 23rd Biennale of Sydney (2022): rīvus

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