It was a long-term goal for Adelaide based photographic artist and curator Nici Cumpston to bring her work to America before her USA debut with Harvey Art Projects. Her recent series, attesting and having-been-there, have been inspired by her connection to the Murray and the Darling River Systems and her Barkindji family's ancestral country in the desert of central western New South Wales. Cumpston focuses on creating awareness of places that were and still are important by showing past occupation by Aboriginal people. As Cumpston says, "people can have cultural obligations to many locations over great distances so it is imperative that they have a deep understanding of how to survive. There are subtle signs in the landscape that inform varying clan groups of food and water sources".
Using medium format film cameras enables Cumpston to slow her pace and the hand coloring process gives her the time to reflect on the cultural stories shared with her by her Barkindji cultural elders.
With an honors degree in visual art from the University of South Australia, Cumpston values art history as an informant in her work as an artist, curator and educator. She is currently the Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Cumpston is also the recent recipient of the prestigious Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Museums' Artists in Residency Award at the University of Virginia.