TNQ Drought Hub unveils new artwork collaboration with local Indigenous artist

    The TNQ Drought Hub has unveiled a new artwork as part of their way to acknowledge and pay respects to Indigenous knowledge, created in collaboration with Cairns artist and cultural practitioner, Bernard Lee Singleton.

    The artwork, entitled Bana Mundu (Water is a Spirit), was launched at September’s Queensland Connects Disaster Resilience Workshop, which brings together key rural and regional stakeholders to discuss opportunities for building community resilience in the face of flood and drought. Mr Singleton, who is an accomplished craftsman, curator and designer, said the artwork embodies the ever-changing patterns of Country.

    The artwork explores the concept of drought through four key themes – Water, Wet/Dry Seasons, Traditional Knowledge and Indigenous Perspectives on Environmental Impacts. TNQ Drought Hub Director Professor David Phelps said they commissioned the artwork to capture an Indigenous perspective on the changing climate and drought.

    “Through Bernard’s artwork, we wanted to showcase an Indigenous viewpoint on the evolving climate and the challenges posed by drought,” said Professor Phelps. “We are always keen to acknowledge Indigenous perspectives and knowledge through our work at the Hub.”

    Professor Phelps said that the artwork not only bears significance for the work of the TNQ Drought Hub but also mirrors the current realities of our shifting climate. “Here at the TNQ Drought Hub, we are dedicated to finding innovative solutions to navigate the challenges of drought and build long-term resilience within our communities,” continues Professor Phelps.

    “In line with this, a key program of ours, the Sustainable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Enterprise Program is focused around enhancing Indigenous resilience in their own communities, and utilising land and water resources to reflect their culture. Bernard’s artwork is not only extremely relevant to our ongoing efforts but provides captivating insight into the evolution of the land and where the past intertwines with the challenges of the present."

    “His perspective encompasses not just the practical aspects but also the cultural, spiritual, social and environmental impacts of increased water insecurity, changing patterns and extreme weather events. It is certainly a remarkable piece and we’re thrilled to have been able to work with Bernard on bringing this project to life.”

    You can view the artwork at the Cairns Institute.

    Image: Bernard Lee Singleton and Prof David Phelps. Courtesy: Jennifer McHugh

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