Diewke van den Heuvel
Cave 2020
from the series Melting Heart
digital print on recycled pet-bottle fabric
dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist

An artwork image of the Birrarung An artwork image of the Birrarung

Peta Clancy
detail from the photographic installation birrarung ba brungergalk 2023
inkjet pigment print
100 x 150 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney

The Soils Project

Until 24 November 2024

An enriching and life-affirming exhibition, The Soils Project explores the meaning of soil as both matter and metaphor. 

The second edition of Soils is showing at Van Abbe Museum, Netherlands 15 June – 24 November 2024

The Soils Project, 5 August – 12 November 2023, brings together 13 practitioners and collectives from Australia, the Netherlands and Indonesia to explore the complex and diverse relationships between environmental change and colonisation.  

The exhibition is the latest iteration of an ongoing research-based experimental project developed in collaboration with leading contemporary arts museum the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands and Struggles for Sovereignty, a collective based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The Soils Project arises from specific and situated practices that each of the participants and artists brings to their understanding of soil, as both metaphor and matter. 

The Soils Project exhibition participants are:

Fellows and Artists

Uncle Dave Wandin (Wurundjeri) and Brooke Wandin (Wurundjeri), Wandoon Estate Aboriginal Corporation; Peta Clancy (Bangerang); Megan Cope (Quandamooka) and Keg de Souza; D Harding (Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal); Badan Kajian Pertanahan (Bunga Siagian & Ismal Muntaha); Beyond Walls (Armando Ello, Jeremy Flohr, Glenda Pattipeilohy, Suzanne Rastovac); Wapke Feenstra; Lian Gogali and the Insitut Mosintuwu; Moelyono; Pluriversity weavers: Seynawiku Izquierdo Torres, Dwasimney Del Carmen Izquierdo Torres, Dwanimako Arroyo Izquierdo, María Eufemia Arroyo Izquierdo (Kwarte Umuke community, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia), Ana Bravo Pérez, Aldo Ramos, Aliki van der Kruijs, LI Yuchen; Riar Rizaldi; Yurni Sadariah (member of PEREMPUAN AMAN of Rangan Adat communities); Diewke van den Heuvel; Rolando Vázquez


Wandoon Estate Aboriginal Corporation, Zena Cumpston (Barkandji), Antariksa, Dr Danny Butt, Dr Helen Hughes, Rolando Vázquez

Creative contributor

Zena Cumpston, ‘Plant Kin’ 

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; the Sidney Myer Fund; the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Embassy of Kingdom of the Netherlands, Australia; the Mondriaan Fund, the public cultural funding organisation focusing on visual arts and cultural heritage; Dutch Culture; and Fasilitasi Bidang Kebudayaan (FBK) Interaksi Budaya, Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of Indonesia.



Related events


Further information

TARRAWARRA MUSEUM OF ART: TarraWarra Museum of Art actively engages with art, place and ideas within global, national and First Nations contexts. Established in 2003, the Museum presents a changing exhibition program of twentieth and twenty-first century art, creating dynamic and memorable experiences for all audiences encouraging curiosity and creativity within the wider community. The Museum, located in Healesville, has a collection of over 700 works of Australian twenty and twenty-first century art. 

Project team: Victoria Lynn, Anthony Fitzpatrick, Charlotte Carter. 

VAN ABBEMUSEUM:  The Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven is one of the first public museums for contemporary art to be established in Europe. The museum’s collection of over 3,400 works of art includes key works and archives by Joseph Beuys, Marc Chagall, René Daniëls, Marlene Dumas, Sheela Gowda, Patricia Kaersenhout, Gülsün Karamustafa, Iris Kensmil, Oskar Kokoschka, John Körmeling, El Lissitzky, Paul McCarthy, Pablo Picasso, Martha Rosler, and Lidwien van de Ven. The museum has an experimental approach towards art’s role in society.  

Project team: Charles Esche, Teresa Cos Rebollo, Vivian Heyms. 


Struggles for Sovereignty (SFS) is a collective rooted in Yogyakarta Indonesia, focusing on social and ecological justice. SFS collaborates with practitioners and communities across the Indonesian archipelago and other majority world contexts, who are working on the front line of colonial and ecological struggles. Through their programmes they explore the possibilities of cultural practice to act as a tool in developing lasting solidarity infrastructure. 

Project team: Eliesta Handitya, Gatari Surya Kusuma, Sanne Oorthuizen, Alec Steadman. 

The Soils Project Advisors: Wandoon Estate Aboriginal Corporation; Zena Cumpston (Barkandji researcher, writer and storyteller); Antariksa (independent historian, artist and member of KUNCI Study Forum & Collective); Dr Danny Butt (University of Melbourne); Dr Helen Hughes (Monash University); and Rolando Vázquez (Utrecht University). 

Creative contributor:  Zena Cumpston, ‘Plant Kin’ 

Zena Cumpston is a Barkandji woman with ancestral and familial connection to Broken Hill, Menindee and Wilcannia in western New South Wales. Zena is a writer and artist and also sometimes works as a curator, consultant, educator and researcher. She is passionate about plants and the many ways they elucidate the innovation and deep knowledge of her Aboriginal community. In 2023, she co-curated the exhibition ngaratya (together, us group, all in it together) for Bunjil Place Gallery, bringing together six Barkandji/Barkindji artists to share newly commissioned artworks inspired by several group trips to ancestral homelands.  She has been an advisor and creative contributor to the Soils project, and has created the illustrated Soils Project publication ‘Plant Kin’ that explores many aspects of indigenous plants and their cultural significance in the lives of First Peoples over millennia. Plant kin presents Zena’s research and writing that is beautifully illuminated by original artworks created especially for this limited-edition publication


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