Bringing together sound, sculpture and digital collage, the work has been developed in response to the transmutations that South Australia's social and physical environment has undergone since first contact with British settlers.
Two years in the making, Ruled Us, Ruled Us, Ruled Us was initiated as part of a curatorial mentorship between Patrice Sharkey (Artistic Director, Adelaide Contemporary Experimental) and Louise O'Kelly (Founding Director and Curator, Block Universe, London) focused on commissioning artwork in response to non-traditional settings.
Inside the Museum of Economic Botany, the last complete collection of its kind in the world, the voice of Aunty Lynette Crocker is heard. She speaks about the ongoing impact of colonisation, not only on First Nations people, but also the plants and animals which live on Country.
Where previously Country was cared for, the new inhabitants valued what could be used for commercial purposes, and disregarded or decimated the rest.
The Museum's cabinets now hold new objects brought into the space by Darkson, his family and members of Community, and carved objects using materials collected from the living collection of the Adelaide Botanic Garden are displayed in the gallery.
These objects asset the traditional uses for native plants and trees.
They are presented alongside a series of manipulated and collaged photographs sourced from archival imagery of the Botanic Gardens and the Museum which date back 130 years.
By adding and subtracting elements, Darkson's images highlight the gaps in the record; where stories have been ignored, and the plants and trees which have supported people that have been overlooked.
Ruled Us, Ruled Us, Ruled Usis a collaborative act of resistance, introducing First Nations voices and cultural practices into an institution which has traditionally only viewed plants through a Western lens.
The Santos Museum of Economic Botany is open 7 days a week from 10.00am - 4.00pm. This exhibition has free entry, no booking required. Please refer to the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia's website for more details.