Photo journalist Angus Mordant has brought his first solo exhibition to Sydney, documenting the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies as they fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In mid-August, the seven bands of the Sioux came together for the first time since the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 to protest against the underground pipeline. It is expected to transport oil to North Dakota, raising concern for their environment and culture.
“I thought it’d be interesting to go out and document this historic gathering… I had no idea it’d turn into what it did…” explained Mordant.
On October 27, the non-violent protesters stood before the pipeline and the police used force against them which was unprecedented for their size.
“The police began tasering people… shooting people indiscriminately… to see this happening out on the rolling hills was something I would have never expected.”
The purpose of his exhibition is to raise awareness through telling their story of protest. Mordant’s exhibition acts as a visual representation of the human and environmental rights issues that individuals around the world face.
“Indigenous people in America, people in Australia, Canada and Latin America face these same environmental issues… I don’t want people to think it’s only happening in one county in North Dakota, but [rather] it is happening everywhere.”
Although the Dakota Access Pipeline is going ahead, Mordant said that the movement is still in its infancy and he’s interested to see how the sense of purpose gained from this protest will continue in other movements.
“It was the end of one fight, but it lit the spark of a bigger movement, raising hope for future issues,” concluded Mordant.
Until Apr 22. Dominik Mersch Gallery, 1/75 McLachlan Avenue, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney. FREE. Info: www.dominikmerschgallery.com
By Jade Morellini.