deadstream_DABILBUNG (brokenwater)

Libby Harward (Ngugi of Quandamooka) (QLD)

  • Wheelchair access

A Next Wave x Placemakers* Gold Coast co-commission 

Water is our lifeblood. First Nations people of this country have held cultural responsibilities sustaining our waterways since time immemorial. Yet after just 230 years of colonial mismanagement, ancient river systems are in grief; over-extracted, commodified, depleted, and disrespected. Our rivers are being bled out.

deadstream_DABILBUNG is an immersive installation centering the issues facing fresh and saltwater country and culture.

This work commences from Harward’s ancestral country, in the Quandamooka, listening to freshwater stories. Broadening its listening, it travels the ecosystems of the Bidgee and the Barka (Murray-Darling Basin), connecting with Traditional Custodians, hearing the call of hungry rivers, and exposing the forces that starve and choke them.

deadstream_DABILBUNG amplifies decades of lobbying from Aboriginal Custodians to return to the traditional governance of our waterways. The environmental, social, economic, and cultural rights around water are not being taken seriously – now is the time to listen and take action.

Content Warnings

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this work may contain images and voices of deceased persons.

deadstream_DABILBUNG (brokenwater) is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and The Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership between the Queensland Government and City of Gold Coast to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland. 

Libby Harward’s artwork deadstream_DABILBUNG (brokenwater) is powered by Lūpa Media Player. More information at

Curator: Danni Zuvela 

The artist would like to thank the following people, Gheebelum Uncle Bob Anderson Ngugi, Aunty Glenda Harward/Nalder Ngugi, Mandy Nicholson, Bruce Shillingsworth, Aunty Jean French, Brendan Adams, Eddy Harris, Elaine Edwards, Buddy Hippi, Zena Cumpston, and Dr Virginia Marshall.

Libby Harward is a descendant of the Ngugi people of Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) in the Quandamooka (Moreton Bay Area of Queensland). Known for her early work as an urban graffiti artist under the pseudonym of ‘Mz Murricod‘, and her performance-based community activism, Harward’s recent series, ALREADY OCCUPIED, engages a continual process of re-calling – re-hearing – re-mapping – re-contextualising -de-colonising and reinstating on country that which colonisation has denied Australia’s First Peoples.  This political practice engages Traditional Custodians in the evolution of ephemeral installations on mainland country which has become highly urbanised and calls for an artistic response that seeks to uncover and reinstate the cultural significance of place, which always was, and remains to be there. Her current place-based sound and video work engages directly with politically-charged ideas of national and international significance.