Jennifer Eadie and Adrianne Semmens
About the exhibition
witness/ tree is the first iteration of a durational, site-responsive body of work by writer & artist, Jennifer Eadie and dance practitioner, Adrianne Semmens (Barkandji), that interrogates individual and collective relationship to place. The artists consider what it means to authentically bear witness to a waadlawarnka [fallen tree] whose age pre-dates the invasion of Kaurna country. In doing so, their work seeks to simultaneously respect, disrupt, and (re)connect with, the histories and stories of Tuthangga (Park 17) Adelaide.
Explore the exhibition
this installation should be understood as a part of a much larger story which is unfolding: for the time being, the trunk of this ancestor tree will remain where she fell in Tuthangga, and the limbs here in the gallery – until community decides what the next step is. Senior Kaurna Man, Uncle Mickey Kumatpi O’Brien shared an on-site smoking ceremony of the waadlawarnka [fallen tree], as a first step in this process.
when researching the place-based history of Tuthangga, it becomes evident that the colony directed a huge amount of its energy towards obsessive clearing, fencing and objectification of this country. this destruction of Kaurna land and home was carried out with the available tools of weapons, livestock, and fire:
we recognize she witnessed this violence and now [unsteadily] we are attempting to create space for ourselves and the public to bear witness to her:
for the first iteration of this project, we are using the gallery to create an installation that acknowledges her:
all of which carries our attempt to pay attention through an embodied response: the charcoal is made with-from her, as is our mark-making and words.
We acknowledge that Kaurna is not our language, but we feel it is critical for it to be present in this place-responsive body of work – as a gesture of respect by us, to this unceded country. Where we have used Kaurna language, we sought advice and approval from Uncle Mickey Kumatpi O’Brien. We are immensely thankful for his guidance, knowledge, and ceremony – all of which guided this project and in turn became part of it.
The artists would also like to acknowledge how thankful we are for the:
– creative contribution & mentoring by Land Based Artist, Dave Laslett:
-advocacy of City of Adelaide Horticulture Team Leader, Matt Jorgensen
-mentoring by Narungga poet, artist and researcher, Natalie Harkin.
Meet the artists & curators
Adrianne Semmens is a dance practitioner and descendant of the Barkindji People of NSW.
Explorations of identity and place continue to be recurring themes across Adrianne’s practice, evident in her work Immerse, commissioned by Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) as part of their 2021 Convergence season and her short work Thread (2020).
Adrianne works closely with Tjarutja Dance Theatre Collective led by Gina Rings, as a performer and collaborator and has enjoyed performing in Inma, Our Corka Bubs and the 2021 Tarnanthi Festival opening event.
2022 sees Adrianne and collaborator Jennifer Eadie present their work Unravel, exhibited at The Mill, Adelaide. Their ongoing dialogue builds upon their first commissioned text Leave Only Your Footprints.
Adrianne continues to be engaged in many education and community projects, such as co-founding the First Nations Choreographic Lab in 2021 and previous role with The Australian Ballet as a Dance Presenter for their Education Ensemble.
Jennifer Eadie is a writer, artist, and academic living on Kaurna Country. Her practice is interdisciplinary and collaborative. She creates durational works that seek to reimagine collective relationship with place and the body. Within this context, her work is intentionally fragmentary: bringing together word, found materials, performance, installation and film. Current creative projects include Footprints (w/The Kaurna Womens Art Collective), UNRAVEL (w/ Adrianne Semmens) and The Limit of Structures (w/ Dave Laslett). Jennifer is a researcher at the Nulungu Institute, University of Notre Dame. Recent writing can be found in Sydney Review of Books, TEXT Journal and CORDITE Poetry Review. Upcoming collaborative work will be shared with Nexus Arts, Tarnanthi Festival and NEOTERICA.