Exploring Georges River Legacies With Bernadette Smith

Georges River Council

Hurstville Museum & Gallery is excited to announce the ‘Legacies’ photographic exhibition by Bernadette Smith is now open.

Bernadette is a Sydney-based multimedia artist and 2023 Carss Park Artist in Residence. This photographic series draws on work produced over her two-month residency. Bernadette’s creations juxtapose the Georges River environment with historical documents, photos, and artifacts from the artist’s family history. Her work depicts the changes brought by settlers to the land and its First Nations People, but also the plight of those sometimes forced to immigrate from far-away homelands.

Bernadette utilises her work to document the natural world and raise awareness about environmental sustainability.

“These photo-media artworks take hours – sometimes weeks – to create because I have had to delve into my own personal archive, combining them with photographs recorded in my daily walks around Carss Park. The selection of imagery works on both a psychological and emotional level, combining aesthetic, conceptual and intuitive judgements,” she explains.

Bernadette Smith immerses herself in the local environment, often returning to a subject to capture the different moods and nuances that light reveals over different times of day and different seasons. At times working swiftly when the light is fleeting, while at other times observing and photographing sunlight over water for hours. Pre-planning and preparation are required to create the perfect shot, but Bernadette says that the process has become intuitive and instinctual over the years.

“I have also become mindful of erasures in Australian history and look to Indigenous artists such as Dennis Golding, Peta Clancy and Jason Wing to help fill in the gaps of my knowledge and experience,” says Bernadette.

Bernadette will be at Hurstville Museum & Gallery on Sunday 2 June from 2.30pm to discuss her research and creative methodologies and processes. All are welcome to attend the Uncovering Legacies: Artist talk with Bernadette Smith.

/Public Release. View in full here.