11 January - 19 April 2015: Saltwater Country

Saltwater Country shows the great diversity of art produced by sixteen artists from Queensland and its coastal regions. They have given visual expression to their intense engagement with the coastline and profound knowledge of the area in a variety of forms such as colourful paintings, installations of large fishing nets made from recycled material, washed-up objects cast in bronze and intriguing photographic works about the first encounter with Europeans.

Situated in the north-east of Australia, Queensland has a breath-taking coastline with expansive beaches, mangroves, tropical islands and coral reefs. It is well known that Aboriginal people feel a strong connection with their land, but less is known abuot their ties to the sea and coastal areas. And yet this is a crucial aspect of colonial history and has had a huge impact on the population and its identity and on art and artists in Queensland. This is the place where the Dutch first encountered the Aboriginal population in 1606.

Some of the work depicts the earliest confrontations with Europeans and the forced labour imposed on Aborigines during the nineteenth century. Other artists focus on the influence that climate change and pollution are having on the sea and beaches. But above all, the artists featured in this dynamic exhibition offer a deeper understanding of their land and sea and appreciation of this unique coastal region.

The artists represented are: Vernon Ah Kee, Daniel Boyd, Michael Cook, Megan Cope, Erub Arts, Fiona Foley, Rosella Namok, Mavis Ngallametta, Laurie Nilsen, Napolean Oui, Ryan Presley, Brian Robinson, Ken Thaiday, Alick Tipoti, Ian Waldron, Judy Watson.


Saltwater Country is a travelling exhibition developed in partnership between Museums & Galleries Queensland and Gold Coast City Gallery. Curated by Michael Aird and Virginia Rigney. Saltwater Country has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body; and is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory governments. This project has received financial assistance from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland's Backing Indigenous Arts program. The project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia International Cultural Council, an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and by the City of Gold Coast.

Saltwater Country is also supported by VSB Fonds.