Artists go with flow in Manly Dam exhibition

Manly Dam Project explores history of the dam site

Art
ARTISTIC FLOW: The exhibition is an artistic exploration of the engineering history and biodiversity of Manly Dam. Pictured - Yarrahapinni # 1 (still), 2019, infrared time-lapse film by Nicole Welch.

ARTISTIC FLOW: The exhibition is an artistic exploration of the engineering history and biodiversity of Manly Dam. Pictured - Yarrahapinni # 1 (still), 2019, infrared time-lapse film by Nicole Welch.

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Artists and engineers come together to explore history, water management and engineering of the Manly Dam site.

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A NEW exhibition at Manly Art Gallery and Museum celebrates the place, history, water management and engineering of the Manly Dam site.

Presented by the gallery in partnership with the Water Research Laboratory, the Manly Dam Project will run until February 23.

The project brought eight artists together with eight engineers last February to exchange ideas about art, engineering and the environment, which would serve as inspiration for the exhibition's featured works.

Four of the artists drew inspiration from the dam's environment itself - researching its biodiversity, social history, and engineering history, while paying deep respect to the area's environmental heritage.

The other four artists' works were inspired by issues surrounding water management, the environmental, and estuarine and wetland habitats.

Subjects of these artworks include the climbing galaxia fish, marine ecosystems, coastal erosion along Collaroy-Narrabeen Beach and wetland restoration at Yarrahapinni.

The Manly Dam was once the source of drinking water for Sydney's north. Fresh water continues to flow from its catchment to the sea.

The surrounding area boasts a distinctive landscape featuring plenty of natural biodiversity, but has also been firmly moulded by science and engineering.

The project and resulting exhibition aimed to develop relationships between members of the arts, scientific and environmental communities, to celebrate the area as a significant site for cultural understanding, to study the environment and to raise awareness of issues related to water management.

Participating artists are Shoufay Derz, Blak Douglas, Nigel Helyer, David Middlebrook, Sue Pedley, Melissa Smith, Cathe Stack and Nicole Welch.

Engineers who took part in the project are Ian Coghlan, Chris Drummond, Francois Flocard, Mitchell Harley, Alice Harrison, Tino Heimhuber, Gabriella Lumiatti and Ben Modra.

Public programs

A number of events and activities are being held to coincide with the exhibition.

Sculptor, sound artist and writer Nigel Helyer will take visitors on a special audio tour of the Manly Art Gallery and Museum from 10.30am-12.30pm on February 10.

Dr Helyer's tour will encourage walkers to find analytical language to describe sound in the environment.

Karen Smith from the Aboriginal Heritage Office will lead a guided walk from the Manly Dam Wall to Curl Curl Creek Waterfall, before returning along the water's edge from 10am-1pm on February 21. Those taking part should take water and a picnic lunch.

More details on 9976-1420; book at eventbrite.com.au and search Sound Walk Manly and Manly Dam Guided Walk.

The Water Research Laboratory will present an open day from 9am-1pm on February 15. It's an opportunity to tour laboratories, meet experts and see engineering and science at work. Details: wrl.unsw.edu.au or 8071-9800.

  • Manly Art Gallery and Museum, West Esplanade Reserve, Manly; open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm; entry free. Information on 9976-1420, magam.com.au

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