JR’s Homily to Country, 2020, draws attention to the ecological decline of the Darling (Baaka) River, Australia’s third longest river, caused by intensive water extraction due to irrigation, climate change and drought. Stimulated by an interest in the plight of farmers globally and the tensions that often exist between Indigenous peoples, ‘family farms’ and multinational agribusinesses, JR’s work also focuses on the human impact of the river’s decline. Envisaged as an open-air chapel, Homily to Country draws on the materiality of JR’s recent projects – a simple scaffold structure with a printed façade – which houses five large-scale stained glass windows. Each of these windows features the artist’s photography from a 2020 research trip, and accompanying the installation is a film documenting JR’s field research. Two portraits depict orchardists who have been forced to remove and burn their families’ commercial orchards due to lack of irrigation flows, and the third depicts a senior Baakandji Elder and spokesperson for the Darling (Baaka) River. For the Baakandji, the health of the river is inextricably and directly related to the health of their culture. Not only does the river offer food, fibre and shelter, but also a central proposition around which to structure culture. In 2020 large sections of the river ran dry.

NGV Triennial 2020 Playlist

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An interview with Jeff Koons In conversation with NGV Director Mindfulness in Taekwondo Asia Society X NGV Triennial conversations | Dhambit Munuŋgurr In conversation with Myles Russell-Cook Salon et Lumière | A Telstra Creativity and Innovation Series presentation NGV Triennial | JR’s Homily to Country NGV Triennial | Introducing Homily to Country Presented by Ewan McEoin Triennial conversations | JR / Rivers in decline Badger Bates, Gabrielle Chan, Rachel Strachan and Alan Whyte in conversation with Ewan McEoin Triennial conversations | Revising narratives Claire G. Coleman, Frieda Toranzo Jaeger, Timothy Moore and Scotty So in conversation with Pip Wallis Triennial conversations | Resonant nature Refik Anadol and Dr Tessa Laird in conversation with Simone LeAmon Triennial conversations | Nature as collaborator Talin Hazbar, Elliot Bastianon, Geoff Nees and Hannah Presley in conversation with Myf Doughty Triennial conversations | Oceans on the edge Professor Madeleine van Oppen, Pirjo Haikola and Alex Goad in conversation with Ewan McEoin Triennial conversations | Get real estate Jill Garner, Amy Muir and Michael Bleby in conversation with Ewan McEoin Triennial conversations | Future First Nations Megan Cope, Angela Tiatia and Hannah Presley in conversation with Myles Russell-Cook Triennial conversations | A Dark Horizon Dr. Edward Colless and Professor Larissa Hjorthin in conversation with Dr. Simon Maidment Triennial conversations | House Of Heroines Lara Schnitger in conversation with Pip Wallis Triennial conversations | Quantum memories Refik Anadol in conversation with Simone LeAmon Triennial conversations | Downtime Faye Toogood in conversation with Simone LeAmon Triennial conversations | Crystalline Erez Nevi Pana in conversation with Ewan McEoin Triennial profile | Glenda Nicholls Triennial profile | Diamond Stingily Triennial profile | Liam Young Triennial profile | JR Interview with William Badger Bates Triennial profile | Refik Anadol Triennial profile | Tomoaki Suzuki Triennial profile | Faye Toogood Triennial profile | Alicja Kwade Triennial profile | Fred Wilson Triennial profile | Porky Hefer Triennial profile | Kengo Kuma Installing JR’s Homily to Country NGV Triennial 2020 Preparing for NGV Triennial 2020 Celebrating contemporary art, design and architecture Bringing NGV Triennial 2020 to life Celebrating contemporary art, design and architecture