Press Release

ACMI and The Ian Potter Cultural Trust are excited to announce the world premiere of Darling Darling, by Gabriella Hirst, as the first solo art exhibition in the new ACMI.

Darling Darling is a two channel video installation exploring hierarchies of care, romanticism and the enduring colonial gaze upon the Australian landscape and the devastation of Australia’s third largest waterway, the Barka Darling River.




International exhibitions

International Archives 1st half of 2021

Gabriella Hirst, Darling Darling

ACMI, Melbourne (Australia)

11.02 - 30.05.2021




Exhibition February 11 -May 30, 2021. ACMI, Fed Square – Melbourne (Australia).







The installation presents two contrasting perspectives of the same body of water: the detailed work by art conservators to restore the 19th century painting, The  flood in the Darling, 1890, by colonial painter WC Piguenit, and the environmental crisis facing the Barka Darling today, as a result of drought, climate change, and severe water mis-management. Presented simultaneously, the sounds from these two contrasting locations leak into one another, blurring the boundaries between these two seemingly distinct treatments of care and implicating the viewer in the contradictions of the Gallery. The film is a timely investigation into the nature of environmental care and neglect, scrutinising the colonial gaze on Country and the relationship between pictorial framing and ecological destruction.  Darling Darling  was filmed at various sites on Barkindji Country, under the guidance of Barkindji Elder Uncle Badger Bates, and on the sovereign lands of the Gadigal at the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW).

Darling  Darling  is the result of Australia's most significant commission for moving image art, the  Ian Potter Moving Image Commission (IPMIC),  an initiative of the  Ian Potter Cultural Trust  and ACMI. Hirst's 2020 commission follows previous recipients who include Angelica Mesiti, (2013) and Daniel Crooks (2016).

About Gabriella Hirst
Gabriella Hirst (she/her) is an artist. She was born and grew up on Cammeraygal land (Australia) and is currently living between Berlin and London. She works primarily with moving image, performance, and with the garden as a site of critique and care. Gabriella’s practice and research explores connections between various manifestations of capture and control—spanning plant taxonomies, landscape painting, art conservation and nuclear history.

Gabriella Hirst, Darling Darling, ACMI, Melbourne

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2021. All Rights Reserved

Gabriella Hirst,  Darling Darling  (still), 2020

Gabriella Hirst,  Darling Darling  (still), 2020