Finding meaning between the waves

Kaylah Joelle Baker

For the Yalingwa exhibition series’ third edition Between Waves, curator Jessica Clark has ensured both established and emerging artists have the opportunity to showcase their works at ACCA.

Launched on July 1 and taking place until September 3, the exhibition profiles the art and cultural practices of 10 First Nations artists in south-east Australia.

“As well as profiling arts and cultural practice in the south-east, [Yalingwa] is all about growing First Nations curatorial practice which is why I have been so lucky to have this incredible opportunity,” Ms Clark said. 

As a proud Palawa/Pallawah (Tasmanian) woman who lives and works on Wurundjeri Country in Naarm (Melbourne), Ms Clark wanted to ensure the exhibition was really grounded in the south-east and incorporated First Peoples from Adelaide, southern NSW, and her home of Tasmania. 

First Nation artists involved in the exhibition are Maree Clarke, Matthew Harris, Jazz Money, Cassie Sullivan, Brad Darkson, Hayley Millar Baker, James Howard, Mandy Quadrio, and Dean Cross. 

Naarm-based Indigenous-arts collective “this mob” has also produced a new digital commission for ACCA’s Digital Wing, which launched at the start of this month. 

For Between Waves, Ms Clark was focused on the meaning behind the word “Yalingwa”, which can mean light, time, vision, or shining a light on the time in Wurundjeri and Woi Wurrung languages. 

“I was really interested in thinking about the things we can’t see and the forces that play in our day to day that influence us, internally and externally,” she said. 


At first people may think of ocean waves but Between Waves is actually really tapping into those unseen waves; light, time, energy fields and flows, radio waves and electromagnetic waves; and taking it that next step further and thinking about how First Nations presence is all around us.


While every artist has approached the same themes, the exhibition will boast a range of multidisciplinary frameworks, including video, installation, poetry, projection, sculpture and sound.

According to Ms Clark, each artist has also put their heart and soul into their work. 

“The artists have been so incredibly generous in sharing deeply personal works,” Ms Clark said. 

“A lot of the projects are also really site responsive to ACCA, which was originally this expansive ecosystem of wetlands but is now consumed by this urban landscape, and despite it being covered it is still here and waiting to be tapped into.” •

Yalingwa is a Victorian Government visual arts initiative developed in partnership with ACCA, Creative Victoria, and TarraWarra Museum of Art, and Ms Clark is the third recipient of the Yalingwa Fellowship.

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