James Tylor: Economics of Water

When: Thursday 6 February - Sunday 17 May 2020

Where: Maurice Chick Family & MacLeod-Miller Adamshurst Gallery, MAMA

Price: FREE

Murray Art Museum Albury is thrilled to present James Tylor’s Economics of Water.

James Tylor is a multi-disciplinary visual artist whose practice explores Australian environment, culture and social history. Tylor explores Australian cultural representations through the perspectives of his multicultural heritage that comprises Nunga (Kaurna), Māori (Te Arawa) and European (English, Scottish, Irish, Dutch and Norwegian) ancestry. His work focuses largely on the history of 19th century Australia and its continual effect on present day issues surrounding cultural identity and the environment.

Artist James Tylor stands in front of white framed photograph of dead trees with triangular gold vinyl over the top of the photo and surrounding wall. Artist is young man around 30 years with dark hair and short beard, white t-shirt

Artist James Tylor at MAMA in February 2020. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch

Tylor’s recent photographic series Economics of Water highlights the environmental damage to the Murray Darling River system from poor water management, historically and ongoing. This series of photographs of a distraught Murray Darling river system are overlaid with gold geometric shapes that symbolise the human infrastructure of water diversion for commercial agriculture and settlements.

The Murray Darling Basin is Australia’s largest river system, stretching across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. The rivers, lakes and floodplains have been a sustainable cultural river system for Indigenous people living along the waterways for 65,000+ years, providing water, food, resources and trade routes.

Following European colonisation, control of the River’s natural resources have been redirected to non-Indigenous agriculture, fisheries, transport and settlements. Industrialisation of agriculture through large commercial-scale farming and multi-national owned companies has led to unsustainable water consumption and trade. Tylor’s works address what he views as State and Federal Government commodification of the rivers’ natural resources, and a failure to manage environmental and cultural consequences.

Economics of Water has been produced primarily around the Menindee Lakes in far west New South Wales, where Tylor spent his childhood. The degradation of this region highlights how the historic European colonisation of the Murray Darling River system through the systematic control of water resources has led to the overconsumption of water today. This new presentation at Murray Art Museum Albury incorporates photographs produced near the Hume Dam for the first time. These recent additions to Economics of Water acknowledge impacts broadly on the Murray Darling Basin, a complex river system whose relative heath in this region masks the severe damage that has occurred and is continuing to occur across the Rivers’ environment.

This exhibition is presented as part of PHOTO 2020, a new international festival of photography based in Melbourne.

Visitors within James Tylor's exhibition 'Economics of Water' at Murray Art Museum Albury

Installation of James Tylor: Economics of Water at Murray Art Museum Albury, February 2020. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch