• Image detail: Sue Pedley, Otolith in the ear of the fish, 2019, Ink and soot on paper, 1000 x 150cm





Friday, 6 December 2019 - 10:00am to Sunday, 23 February 2020 - 5:00pm

The Manly Dam area is a unique landscape rich in natural biodiversity, shaped by the interventions of engineering and science. Once the source of drinking water in Sydney’s north, freshwater continues to flow from the catchment to the sea.

Along with a rich Aboriginal cultural significance, the area’s European history is layered with stories of social and recreational activity.

Adjacent to this area, now known as the Manly Warringah War Memorial Park, is a hub of international research through the work of the Water Research Laboratory (WRL), a facility of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW Sydney.

Eight contemporary artists from a variety of practices have created new work inspired by place, history, water management and engineering.

Presented by Manly Art Gallery & Museum and UNSW-WRL, supported by the Aboriginal Heritage Office.

Curated by Professor Ian Turner and Katherine Roberts


Shoufay Derz
Blak Douglas
Nigel Helyer
David Middlebrook
Sue Pedley
Melissa Smith
Cathe Stack
Nicole Welch

Participating Engineers

Ian Coghlan
Chris Drummond
Francois Flocard
Mitchell Harley
Alice Harrison
Tino Heimhuber
Gabriella Lumiatti
Ben Modra

Associated Events

  • Artists ‘in conversation’ - Sunday 8 December, 3 - 4pm
    Katherine Roberts leads a conversation with the artists about their experiences working on the Manly Dam Project, their creative processes and artworks in the exhibition. 
  • Sound Walk Workshop - Mon 10 February 2020, 10am – 12.30pm
    Join sculptor, sound-artist and writer, Dr Nigel Helyer, (a.k.a. DrSonique) for this workshop which will lead you on an audio journey which will test the power of language to find the descriptive and analytical language to describe sound in the environment.
  • Water Research Laboratory Open Day - Saturday 15 February 2020, 9am – 1pm
    The WRL Open Day is a fantastic opportunity to experience first-hand this unique, world-class research facility.
  • Guided Walk at Manly Dam - Friday 21 February 2020, 10am – 1pm
    Join Karen Smith, the Aboriginal Heritage Office’s Education Officer on a guided walk from the Dam Wall, along the escarpment and to the Curl Curl Creek waterfall and returning along the water’s edge.

Contact information

Manly Art Gallery & Museum
Art Gallery Staff
02 9976 1421


Manly Art Gallery & Museum
West Esplanade Reserve
Manly NSW 2095
Map of Manly Dam Project

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