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Artists, ecologists and storytellers from across Sydney are immersing themselves in Sydney's river systems. Some even get wet.


Explore the CURRENTS showcase below, presented on STORYBOX and supported by the City of Sydney's Creative Resilience program. 

"In the beginning, there was the river — before the beach, before the drain, before the dredging, before the dams..."  Ian Tyrell, River Dreams: The People and Landscape of the Cooks River

CURRENTS presents a curated selection of contemporary creative responses to Sydney's urban water ways.  


Sydney's glittering harbour may be known as one of the most beautiful urban estuaries in the world, inspiring generations of Sydney artists, photographers and writers.  


Today, many creatives living and working across greater Sydney are responding to the ecologies of the city's river systems. 


Through our rivers, we are forced to confront urban ecologies under pressure, just as we turn to these places as places of respite and reconnection with the natural world. 

The artists, designers, educators and technologists presented here draw our attention to the rhythmns of the river ways, to ancient forms of gathering that have taken place on the shores of Sydney's rivers, and the vital importance healthy river systems to the city's future. 

CURRENTS has been supported by the City of Sydney through its Creative Resilience Grants Program. 

Selected artworks  


Immersion: Parra River Patch, Kalanjay Dhir, 2020. 


Immersion is the first in a series of video and sculptural works devoted to the Parramatta River.

Stylised as a playthrough of a video game, Immersion sees an avatar swimming in the contaminated river against a backdrop of construction sites and young families. The work reflects on the agency of rivers by trying to dissolve the self within histories and futures of riverways.

Immersion was made on the lands and waters of the Burramattagal people of Darug nation. I pay my respect to Darug elders past, present and emerging and all First Nations people.

Growing up along the river I saw a commonality in respect towards elders and water in many cultures.


There's an irony living next to an old body of water and not being able to swim in it.

Hover mouse over video for sound.


Tidal, Mike Daly, 2020.


A data visualisation of tidal forces.


 Underflow, Cindy Yuen-Zhe Chen, 2020. 


'Underflow - Tributaries' connects moments of engagement with the sounds, animals and people that enliven Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers.

Hover mouse over video for sound. 

Secrets Untold

Leanne Tobin on the Parramatta river as a place of gathering, feasting and dancing among Darug people for centuries. 

Leanne Tobin, Secrets Untold, 2020.


Commissioned by the City of  Parramatta for STORYBOX and presented as part of CURRENTS.  

Learn more about Secrets Untold here

Painted River Project

The Painted River Project.

Leo Robba, 2020.


The Painted River project aims to highlight the importance of healthy rivers and water catchments to the future of the Sydney region.  It seeks to communicate this message through community interaction where art meets science in a creative collaboration.

This video was created by Western Sydney University for STORYBOX Parramatta. CURRENTS will feature two additional Painted River pieces, one at Jubilee Park in Glebe and one at Auburn's Duck Creek. 

A Week on Cook's River

A week on the Cooks River, Clare Britton, 2017. 


A week on the Cook's River is a study of the Cooks River and artworks that move through landscapes.

In 2017 Clare followed the 23 kilometre trajectory of the Cooks River from its patchy beginnings in Yagoona through Botany Bay to the Pacific Ocean. 


Walking until the river is deep and wide enough to row, the photographs, video, sculpture, drawings and writing from this time form a visual and written map of the river. 

A photographic essay drawn from this project is presented as part of the CURRENTS showcase.  

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