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4 February – 1 April 2023

Guest curator:
José Roca

Birrarung/Yarra River (AU)
Tania Candiani (MX)
Jessie French (AU)
Gail Mabo (AU)
Diana Scherer (DE)
Paula de Solminihac (CL)

Rivers, wetlands and other salt and freshwater ecosystems featured in rīvus—the 23rd Biennale of Sydney (2022)—as dynamic living systems with political agency. Indigenous knowledges have long understood non-human entities as living ancestral beings with a right to life that must be protected. But only recently have animals, plants, mountains and bodies of water been granted legal personhood.

While rīvus invited several aqueous beings into a dialogue with artists, architects, designers, scientists and communities, Rivermouth delves further into their relationships with sky and earth Country. Building upon some of the Biennale’s themes and concerns, it considers the migratory routes of waterbirds, recognises First Nations systems of celestial and seasonal mapping, and explores the potential and agency of natural elements, materials and cycles of growth, decay and regeneration.

Guest curated by Artistic Director of the 23rd Biennale of Sydney, José Roca, in collaboration with MUMA’s Charlotte Day and Francis E. Parker.

Rivermouth is co-presented with the collaborative project baanytaageek: Great Swamp Fragments featuring the cross-disciplinary research of Professor Nigel Bertram, N’arwee’t Professor Carolyn Briggs AM, Catherine Murphy, Rutger Pasman and Ben Waters.

Rivermouth runs concurrently with travelling Biennale exhibitions at Adelaide Contemporary Experimental (4 February – 18 March 2023); Cairns Art Gallery (18 February – 16 April 2023) and Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (28 January – 29 April 2023).

Access: The exhibition takes place across MUMA's well-lit, ground-floor galleries and contains artworks hanging on walls, sculptural and audio installations and video works. One video has a spoken audio track that runs for just over 8 minutes and is captioned. Another video features a soundtrack with musical and percussive components played at medium volume with no speaking (just over 13 minutes long). A sculptural sound installation features recordings of Australian water birds and live sounds produced by air passing through clay wind instruments. Visitors with audio sensitivity may want to use ear plugs, which are available at MUMA's reception. Access the wall labels before your visit by clicking on the link below underneath 'Resources'. Audio-described tours can be arranged on request for visitors who are blind or have low vision, with sighted companions and guide dogs welcome. Contact reception on 03 9905 4217 or

Image: Tania Candiani, Waterbirds: Migratory Sound Flow 2022. Installation view, Rivermouth, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, 2023. Photo: Christian Capurro

Related Programs


Tania Candiani’s Waterbirds: Migratory Sound Flow, 2022, is co-commissioned by MUMA and the Biennale of Sydney. This is the third commissioning and presentation partnership between MUMA and the Biennale, and follows previous co-commissions by artists Tania Bruguera (2020) and Michael Stevenson (2018).

Rivermouth is presented by the Biennale of Sydney and MUMA, with generous support from the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund—an Australian Government initiative. New commissions supported by the MUMA Contemporaries.

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