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Whose Land Is It? at Open Eye Gallery

Whose Land Is It? – treating the landscape as a living element to be collaborated with.

A black and white picture of a barren landscape by James Tylor, part of the Whose Land Is It? exhibition
Economics of Water #10 (Canal), 2018 © James Tylor

Whose Land Is It? Open Eye Gallery’s summer exhibition brings together three artists living and working in Australia.

James Tylor, Aton Atem and Amanda Williams explore themes from land misuse to feminist readings of the surrounding environment.

Together they approach the idea of landscape and the elements which may have previously escaped our attention.

All the projects help establish more engaged ways of reading the land and understanding its impact.

Through these images, a sense of responsibility or belonging begins to form.

Open Eye Gallery curator Mariama Attah said: “Whose Land Is It? shows three points of view that each treat the landscape as a living element to be collaborated with.

“It’s been revealing and refreshing to see landscape photography from this angle.”

A black and white image of Nichols Gorge. Part of the Whose Land Is It? exhibition at Open Eye Gallery.
Untitled, from the series Nichols Gorge Walk © Amanda Williams

Whose Land Is It?

The exhibition invites visitors to think about the role of visual culture and photography in helping us question the images we hold and refer to when we think of the landscape, and what action can be taken to preserve and protect the land.

Artists were selected from the PHOTO 2021 International Festival of Photography.

Nichols Gorge Walk, Kosciuszko National Park by Williams introduces a feminist reading to the landscape and cave structures.

Working with fogged paper and repeated prints, the images encourage focusing less on conquering and overcoming the land.

Instead, they are more reflective, collaborative and in sync with the natural elements, applying a feminist approach to landscape photography.

Atem takes us on a journey through lockdown with Monstera Obliqua and Photo Weavings.

Traces of natural materials collected during these walks make up layers within and on the surface of the images.

They act as a map, cataloguing and presenting the topography and content of the local landscape.

The woven nature of the work presents a tactile, physical way of connecting with the outside world.

Tylor’s Economics of Water presents photographs of the Murray-Darling basin in south-eastern Australia.

Here, resources and potential have disappeared through water mismanagement, industrialisation, and short-sighted decisions.

Gold geometric shapes overlay each photograph.

They symbolise the former wealth of the land, its forgotten uses, and the dislocated relationship between humanity and knowledge of the water.

A woven image by Atong Atem currently on display in the Whose Land Is It? exhibition at Open Eye Gallery
Teal Weave, from the series Photo Weavings, 2021 © Atong Atem

About the artists

Atong Atem is a South Sudanese artist and writer from Bor living in Narrm, Melbourne.

She primarily works with film and video.

James Tylor is a multi-disciplinary visual artist whose practice explores Australian environment, culture and social history.

He explores Australian cultural representations through the perspectives of his multicultural heritage comprising Nunga, Māori and European ancestry.

Amanda Williams works within the material, chemical and physical constraints of large format silver gelatin photographic printing, fibre-based papers and analogue, black and white, medium and large format film.

Her subjects include landscape, brutalist architecture and the darkroom abstractions of photograms and chemograms.

Exhibition details

Whose Land Is It? is on at Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, until September 19.

Open Eye acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional owners of lands and waters across Australia.