GRAVITATE: Dymphna and Manning Clark ̶ Canberra and Wapengo

Art Exhibition

Curated by Harijs Piekalns

An exhibition of moving image, ground sculpture, painting, photographs and works on paper by Harijs Piekalns, Mark Van Veen and Tim Fisher

Venue: MANNING CLARK HOUSE, 11 Tasmania Circle, Forrest ACT

Open until Sunday 20 December 2020

Opening hours: 11:00am-5:00pm Wednesday–Sunday

Enquiries: Harijs Piekalns 0417 044 158

The exhibition links the Clarks’ residence in Canberra with their property at Lake Wapengo on the Far South Coast of NSW.

In October Harijs Piekalns returned to Lake Wapengo and with the assistance of Tim Fisher and Mark Van Veen executed an ephemeral work in ochre pigment sourced from the lakeshore. A wave form, which represents water for Ngunnawal First Nations people and is also one of the pre-Christian Latvian Earth symbols, was stencilled in ochre pigment below the tideline and covered by the incoming tide. The exhibition includes a video of this ephemeral work recorded over a 12-hour period. The same wave motif is stencilled on parts of the lawn at Manning Clark House. Also included are paintings and photographs responding to the Wapengo experience. Fisher and Piekalns have used ochre from Wapengo in their paintings.


In November 1968, using the inheritance from her mother’s will, Dymphna Clark purchased 400 acres of coastal land on the far south coast of New South Wales. The property contains First Nations ceremonial grounds and campsites around the edge of the lake which is ringed with extensive middens and rich sources of ochre. Along with a house constructed on the headland in 1970, Dymphna left a lasting legacy of major tree plantings to conserve the mangroves along the tideline.

Harijs Piekalns is no stranger to the Far South Coast, having owned a bush block at Rocky Hall since 1979. He became friends with Rowland Clark in the 1980s and has enjoyed many camps on the property for extended periods of time. This exhibition creates a tacit and metaphysical link between Canberra and Lake Wapengo and reciprocates the Clark family’s generosity in sharing their properties with welcome guests.

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