Brad Darkson’s work is informed by his First Nations and Anglo Australian heritage. His mob on his Dad’s side is the Chester family, with lineages to Narungga and many other Nations in South Australia － from Ngarrindjeri to Far West Coast. On his Mum’s side, he is from the Colley and Ball convict and settler migrant families who both arrived in 1839 aboard the Duchess of Northumberland. Brad’s work connects contemporary and traditional cultural practices, language and lore through carving, sound, sculpture, multimedia installation and painting. He completed a BFA at the University of South Australia in 2015 and a MFAD at the University of Tasmania in 2017. Recent exhibitions include Between Waves, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2023; Make Yourself Comfortable, Post Office Projects, Adelaide, 2022; Neoteric, Adelaide Railway Station, 2022; Experimenta Life Forms, touring 2021–2024. He is currently in residence at ACE as part of the 2023 Studio Program. His research interests include traditional land management practices, bureaucracy, seaweed and neo-capitalism.
Treenet Symposium Speaker
Ruled Us, Ruled Us, Ruled Us.
An exhibition developed in consultation with Ngangki Burka, Senior Kaurna Woman Aunty Lynette Crocker, and Uncle Moogy Sumner
Ruled Us, Ruled Us, Ruled Us is a sound, sculpture and digital collage work on the transmutations that South Australia’s social and physical environment has undergone since first contact with British settlers. Inside the Museum of Economic Botany the voice of Aunty Lynette Crocker tells of the ongoing impact of colonisation, not only on First Nations people, but also the plants and animals which live on Country. Where previously Country was cared for, the new inhabitants valued what could be used for commercial purposes and disregarded or decimated the rest. The Museum’s cabinets hold new objects brought into the space by Darkson, his family and members of the Community; objects carved using materials collected from the living collection of the Adelaide Botanic Garden are displayed in the gallery. These objects asset the traditional uses for native plants and trees and are presented alongside collaged photographs sourced from archival imagery of the Botanic Gardens which date back 130 years. Darkson’s images highlight the gaps in the record: where stories have been ignored, and the plants and trees that supported people that have been overlooked. Ruled Us, Ruled Us, Ruled Us is a collaborative act of resistance, it introduces First Nations voices and cultural practices into an institution which has traditionally only viewed plants through a Western lens.