Between Waves | Exhibition Kit

ACCA is proud to present Between Waves, which continues the Yalingwa exhibition series devoted to highlighting the significance of First Nations contemporary art practice in the Southeast within a national context. The exhibition navigates the intersections and collisions between art, culture, and technologies.

Between Waves highlights concepts related to light, time and vision – and the idea of shining a light on our times – expressed by the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung word ‘Yalingwa’. The exhibition presents the work of ten artists and collectives, with new commissions which explore visible and invisible energy fields, internal and external worlds, thinking and feeling, listening and seeing. Many of the works consider material memory within objects and places, and how these influence encounters with self, eachother and the world. Art forms span video, installation, poetry, projection, photography, painting, sculpture, sound, printmaking, and a digital commission to illuminate the interconnected web of what can and cannot be seen.

Artists: Maree Clarke, Dean Cross, Brad Darkson, Matthew Harris, James Howard, Hayley Millar Baker, Jazz Money, Mandy Quadrio, Cassie Sullivan and this mob.

Curated by Jessica Clark

Yalingwa is a Victorian Government initiative developed in partnership between Creative Victoria, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and TarraWarra Museum of Art.

This exhibition kit has been written by ACCA Education to support learning alongside the ACCA exhibition Between Waves. Three key artists and artworks from the exhibition have been highlighted, with discussion questions to prompt student thinking. Primary and secondary activities are mapped to the Victorian and Australian Curricula and can be found in the For Teachers section.

Between Waves Curatorial Essay

Link to Wall texts

Video of the Exhibition

About the artists

Maree Clarke
born 1961, Swan Hill
lives and works in Naarm, Victoria

Maree Clarke is a Yorta Yorta, Wamba Wamba, Mutti Mutti, and Boon Wurrung woman from North-West Victoria, and a multidisciplinary visual artist. Clarke is a pivotal figure in the reclamation of Southeast Australian Aboriginal art practices, reviving elements of Aboriginal culture that have historically been suppressed – or lying dormant – since colonisation began. Clarke is a key industry leader, nurturing and promoting the diversity of contemporary Southeast Aboriginal creative and cultural practice.

Clarke’s continuing desire to affirm and reconnect with her cultural heritage has seen her revival of possum skin cloaks, body adornments and cultural objects in both traditional and contemporary materials. Her multimedia installations include lenticular prints*, 3D photographs and photographic holograms as well as body adornment, sculpture and video to further explore the customary ceremonies, rituals, and language of her ancestors.

In 2023, Clarke was awarded the Yalingwa Artist Fellowship in recognition of her significant contribution to creative and cultural practice in the First Nations arts community in Victoria, and in 2022 received a nomination for Victorian Australian of the year. 

*lenticular prints – printed images with the ability to change or move as they are viewed from different angles

Cassie Sullivan
born 1985, nipaluna/Hobart
lives and works on melukerdee Country, Tasmania

Cassie Sullivan is a palawa woman with a responsive, intimate, and experimental contemporary art practice that crosses disciplines of moving image, photography, writing, sound, installation, and printmaking. Sullivan works with a deeply considered process-driven practice that prioritises a sensory engagement with Country. Within her creative practice, Sullivan uses writing to process and understand the way life moves around her. Her works constantly question what can be imbued through materiality, to give voice to complex identities.

Sullivan is currently exploring themes of transgenerational communication and trauma that reside in bodily memory, investigating the ways in which knowledge has been both carried and lost.

She has been shortlisted for the prestigious Women’s Art Prize, Tasmania 2021, the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize 2019, and the Australian Institute of Professional Photography and The International Loupe Awards 2011-2013.

Matthew Harris
born 1991, Wangaratta
lives and works in Naarm/Melbourne, Victoria

Matthew Harris is a self-taught artist of mixed European and Koorie descent. Harris’ multidisciplinary contemporary art practice often debases dominant hierarchies through socially critical and conceptual painting and sculpture. A queer sensibility and rhythmic seriality runs throughout his practice, with earlier works challenging conventions of taste and class, riffing on historical imagery with abject figuration in bright colour palettes. More recently, Harris collides materials, traditional First Nations techniques and minimal abstraction in innovative ways.

Harris’ commission for ACCA, Consigned to oblivion, 2023 shows a more pared back aesthetic and palette. Harris has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally. 

Between Waves artists L-R, Cassie Sullivan, Hayley Millar Baker, Mandy Quadrio, Maree Clarke, Jessica Clark (Curator), Jazz Money, Dean Cross, James Howard, Brad Darkson. Photographer: Casey Horsfield

Key Artworks

Maree Clarke, now you see me: seeing the invisible #1 2023 (detail) installation view, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Commissioned by ACCA. Courtesy the artist and Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne. Photograph: Andrew Curtis

Maree Clarke, now you see me: seeing the invisible #1 2023

297 photographic microscopy prints on acetate
30 x 30cm each

Created on Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung Country
Courtesy the artist and Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne

Key ideas and concepts: Place, science, cells, material

Informed by recent practice-based research in collaboration with The University of Melbourne Histology Platform, Clarke’s new commission now you see me: seeing the invisible #1 features hundreds of microscopic images that reveal the internal worlds of Phragmites australis*, more commonly known as river reeds. The multi-coloured forms and reflections unfold, shift and change depending on one’s viewing point, just as the microscopic images change with the slightest movement. Assembled en mass, they reveal the elemental activity occurring at a cellular level within river reeds, to share ‘the extraordinary complexity of the micro realm; making the invisible, visible.’ This work is also presented with a projection component now you see me: seeing the invisible #2 at Federation Square during the exhibition which incorporates all the slides seen in the exhibition.

Clarke has been working with river reeds for more than fifteen years and often shares that: “Traditionally, river reed necklaces were gifted to people passing through country as a sign of safe passage and friendship.” Of her new commission Clarke explains: “The site where ACCA stands was once expansive wetlands that would have been filled with river reeds. […] in response to place, I started wondering about the micro systems.”

*Phragmites australis – common reed, a species of flowering plant in the grass family Poaceae. It is a wetland grass that can grow up to 20 feet tall and has a cosmopolitan distribution worldwide.

Inquiry questions

  • Look closely at Clarke’s individual prints. What else can you see or imagine the images to represent? 
  • Imagine and draw what a local plant might look like under a microscope.
  • What micro systems or worlds do you imagine live under your school, or historically existed on the site?
  • Think about the place you live, your home or town. What materials or plants connect you to your home or environment that would describe something about you?
Cassie Sullivan, wayi (to hear) 2023, installation view, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Commissioned by ACCA. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Andrew Curtis

Cassie Sullivan, wayi (to hear) 2023

seven tarlatan monotype prints on frosted acrylic
170.0 x 122.0 cm each
Created on melukerdee and nuenonne Country
Courtesy the artist

Key ideas and concepts: Monotype, body, memory, healing

Cassie Sullivan’s new commission wayi (to hear) 2023 includes a series of seven large-scale monotypes. Each print is subtle and has been overlaid onto clouded acrylic, the translucency of which conjures the mist that gathers and disperses across Country in lutruwita/trouwerner (Tasmania). In this work Sullivan has used tarlatan*, a fabric of care, used for gause or to swaddle babies as well as clean etching plates (in printmaking) to create these monotypes.

Prior to printing, Sullivan walked, pushed and pulled the tarlatan across melukerdee and nuenonne Country (Bruni Island, South Eastern Tasmania) gathering ‘knowledge of place’ along the journey. Sullivan then gently layered the fabric with paint and overlaid this onto the large translucent sheets. She uses the weight of her body to press the heavily inked fabric onto the large opalised acrylic sheets, leaving an impression of the fabric behind. Through this process, Sullivan conveys a deeply personal and somatic** language that explores the ways in which trans-generational communication and trauma manifests in the body and is brought into physical form, connecting the mind and the body

Sullivan has reflected:
“The ancestors hang here. Float, suspended in the neverwhere and the everywhen. A succession of experiences, of traumas, of attempted erasures […] As I work the ink and salt-soaked tarlatan into each monotype, I embed myself here too, in these pieces that are the height of me, in this material, that has been torn to my proportions. My muscles ache at the work being done. The imprinted narrative shifts alongside me.”

Inquiry questions

  • How are traditional monotype prints made? 
  • How do you imagine the artist used her body to make each of these prints? What materials and setup do you think she needed?
  • Why do you think the artist chose to walk with her fabric before using it to make these  prints?
  • What do you see in each of the prints? Do the shapes or textures remind you of anything or conjure emotive responses?

*Tarlatan – A soft, textured cloth, similar to gauze or cheesecloth. Can be used to dress wounds.
** Somatic – relating to the body and body memory.

View video of the artwork here: Cassie Sullivan ‘wayi (to hear)’, 2023

Matthew Harris, Consigned to oblivion 2023, installation view, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Commissioned by ACCA. Courtesy the artist and FUTURES, Melbourne. Photograph: Andrew Curtis

Matthew Harris, Consigned to Oblivion 2023

ochre, charcoal, and acrylic binder on linen
198.0 x 167.0 cm each
Created on Wurundjeri Country
Courtesy the artist and FUTURES, Melbourne

Key ideas and concepts: Painting, minimalism, museum collections, scientific racism

Matthew Harris’ work consists of a suite of seven large-scale white ochre and charcoal paintings on linen, the size and scale of which reflects a standard museum archival shelf. Across the layered and tactile surface of Consigned to oblivion, Harris has painted a series of white boxes that sit in darkness, waiting. The newly commissioned work references artistic tendencies of minimalism and seriality, drawing attention to the relentless and repetitious efforts of museums and collecting institutions. Harris highlights the ongoing history of gate-keeping that has denied Aboriginal ancestral remains and culturally significant objects and materials the right to return home. In doing so, he emphasises the secrets, the lies, this macabre* history of collecting, and the role of contemporary art practice in shedding light in the dark. 

When reflecting on his new commission, Harris notes: “From afar they’re the type of monochromatic, repetitive, minimalist paintings you might find in Dia Beacon**, up close the lumpy surface reveals the texture of their material – crushed charcoal [the remnants of a fire] and white ochre, white ochre being most commonly used for sorry business***. Far from pure abstraction, the paintings depict a museum storage facility with endless shelves of archival boxes containing bones held in institutional limbo […] ancestral remains, sacred objects and cultural heritage behind layers of impenetrable bureaucratic control.”

Inquiry questions

  • What do you feel and experience looking at these works?
  • How would you describe the artist’s style of painting? 
  • How do you imagine these works might decay or change over time? 
  • Have you considered how museums come to own various objects in their collection?
  • Why do you think the artist painted 7 paintings featuring unmarked boxes, instead of the objects held inside?

* Macabre – disturbing and connected to death. Connected to the French word ‘Danse Macabre’ ‘dance of death’
** Dia Beacon – Contemporary Art Gallery in New York
*** Sorry business – A word used by First Nations and Torres Strait Islander peoples in reference to an important time of mourning that involves responsibilities and obligations to attend funerals and participate in other cultural events, activities or ceremonies with the community.

For Teachers

Primary activities

Microscopic Worlds

Inspired by Maree Clarke’s artwork now you see me: seeing the invisible #1 and #2 2023, this activity invites students to explore the microscopic world all around us, using magnified imagery. 

Photocopies of microscopic images OR a microscope for live reference
Acetate sheets or tracing paper (black paper can be used as an alternative)
Posca pens (paint pens)


  • Source colour images of microscopic photos of native Australian plants. Select and print several as templates for this activity. You may like to research and focus on plants from your local area.
  • Using the image as a reference, draw the microscopic shape onto an acetate sheet with the posca pens. Alternative materials include pastels on black paper. 
  • Students can choose their own colours in creating their personal interpretation of the image and plant.
  • As a group, reflect on how different the drawn image looks compared to the printed photograph.
  • Layer images on top of other students’ work to see how the works interact, creating collages and combined layers. 
  • Once you have finished your artwork, experiment with different lighting and display techniques. Place the work over a window to allow light to pass through; position your work between a light source and plain wall to cast shadows.

If you have access to magnifying glasses or even a microscope you may like to take your own photos of microscopic imagery. Students may bring in an object from their own garden to view under a microscope, considering how these images further connect to their experience of place. 

Australian Curriculum / Visual Arts / Years F-6

Explore ideas and artworks from different cultures and times, including artwork by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, to use as inspiration for their own representations (ACAVAM106) (ACAVAM110) (ACAVAM114)

Use materials, techniques and processes to explore visual conventions when making artworks (ACAVAM107) (ACAVAM111) (ACAVAM115)

Create and display artworks to communicate ideas to an audience (ACAVAM108) (ACAVAM112) (ACAVAM116)

Victorian Curriculum / Visual Arts / Levels F-6

Explore and Express Ideas (VCAVAE013)(VCAVAE017) (VCAVAE021) (VCAVAE025) (VCAVAE029)
Visual Arts Practices (VCAVAV018) (VCAVAV022) (VCAVAV026) (VCAVAV030)
Present and Perform  (VCAVAP019) (VCAVAP023)(VCAVAP027)
Respond and Interpret (VCAVAR020) (VCAVAR024) (VCAVAR028) (VCAVAR032)

Curriculum Interpretation

This activity is devised in response to the exhibition Between Waves, featuring ten artists and a collective whose works span video, installation, poetry, projection, photography, painting, sculpture, sound, printmaking and digital commision. Students explore the relationship between material memory of object and place. They will create drawings based on techniques used by the artist whilst building students’ awareness of art and technical skills.

The exhibition navigates a range of technologies and material collisions that convey the intersections and connections between art, culture, materiality, science and technology.

By undertaking these activities, students:

  • Experiment with translucency and how different colour combinations can greatly alter the effects of a single image.
  • Select and experiment with new approaches to composition and technical execution whilst honing close-looking skills.
  • Consider Maree Clark’s practice and ideas as inspiration for their own art making.
  • Consider how STEM ideas and principles are embedded in the art making processes by understanding the science behind the image.

Secondary activities

Sounds of place
Sound is used as a key element throughout the exhibition, Between Waves. Some works use sound in music to accompany images, such as the score by e-fishpool as part of Jazz Money’s infinite iterative piece, or audio to generate a sense of atmosphere and place in Bran Darkson’s waiting for kakirra. This art-making activity in particular has been inspired by James Howard’s sound artwork, Subterranean frequencies. This is a multi-layered generative sound sculpture that explores a series of field recordings gathered by Howard underneath ACCA, within the large cavernous space of the Grant Street Ventilation Stack.


  • Use the voice memo app on Ipads, phone or a zoom recorder to record a series of sounds from your backyard or home.
  • Write a poem or some words to accompany the sounds that either describe where you live or how you feel about your ‘place’. Practise performing your words as spoken word poetry, then record. Mix, edit and layer the two recordings using Garageband or another music mixing application. 
  • Consider meaningful ways to present and display this sound artwork to share with an audience. Decide on physical device(s) and hardware such as headphones or speakers to play the track(s), and the use of constructed objects to house the sounds. Consider scale, volume as well as the physical site of your presentation. Would you choose a gallery space, a public or communal space where audiences might inadvertently hear your work as they pass by? Is listening to be an individual or group experience? 
  • Create a diagram or floorplan to demonstrate how your work would be exhibited and the technologies used to install and display.

Australian Curriculum / Visual Arts / Years 7-10

Experiment with visual arts conventions and techniques (ACAVAM118(ACAVAM125)
Develop planning skills for art-making by exploring techniques and processes used by different artists  (ACAVAM120(ACAVAM127)
Practise techniques and processes to enhance representation of ideas in their art-making (ACAVAM121) ​​ (ACAVAM128)

Victorian Curriculum / Visual Arts / Levels 7-10

Explore and Express Ideas (VCAVAE033)(VCAVAE034)(VCAVAE040)(VCAVAE041)
Visual Arts Practices (VCAVAV035) (VCAVAV042)(VCAVAV036)(VCAVAV043)
Respond and Interpret(VCAVAR039)(VCAVAR046)

Curriculum Interpretation

This activity is devised in response to the exhibition Between Waves, featuring ten artists and collective whose works span video, installation, poetry, projection, photography, painting, sculpture, sound, printmaking and a digital commission. Students explore the relationship between material memory of object and place and how sound can be used in place of imagery. They will create a sound artwork inspired by the artist whilst building students’ awareness of art, technical skills and industry practices.

The exhibition navigates a range of technologies and material collisions that convey the intersections and connections between art, culture, and science.

By undertaking these activities, students:

  • Consider sound and installation art within visual arts.
  • ​​Explore how sound can be used in place of imagery to express identity and personal experience.
  • Select and experiment with new approaches to artmaking, use of digital technologies and display for audiences.
  • Consider James Howard’s practice and ideas as inspiration for their own art making.
  • Consider how STEM ideas and principles are embedded in the art making processes through the use of technology.

Contact ACCA

This education resource has been produced by ACCA Education to provide information and classroom support material for education visits to the exhibition Between Waves. The reproduction and communication of this resource is permitted for educational purposes only.