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Award-winning photographic artist Lilli Waters will unveil her latest solo exhibition, Orpheus, in Sydney for one week only from 9 to 21 May in the light-filled space at Curatorial+Co.’s warehouse gallery in Redfern.

Orpheus features a series of 10 large-scale photographs and moving image artworks, which were elaborately constructed underwater using shells, fish, flowers, and the female form. The striking subjects emerge from a dark waterscape, to create an other-worldly ethereal and striking visual.

Offering a nuanced mix of hope and despair, promise and foreboding, this series of photographic vignettes were created during a lockdown reprieve in mid-2021, when Melbournian residents thought they were at last free from government restrictions. While evoking a sense of entrapment, this series also invites the viewer to move beyond the darkness and towards the light.

Among the key works in the exhibition: Flowers emerge out of darkness. This work is reminiscent of the Dutch masterpieces of the 17th century and a reminder of the transitory nature of life. Floating alongside the blossoms are jewel-like creatures and shells, dramatically shrouded by golden nets and sheets of suffocating cellophane.

We are living through an age where our lens on the world must constantly shift and refocus as new ideas, crises, social movements and the natural environment rapidly changes – Lilli Waters

“A level of poetic consciousness is required to navigate this complex new world and at-times hopeless landscape. Orpheus was a poet, a prophet, and a musician in Greek mythology who at the end of his life worshipped no god but the sun. For these images, I wanted Orpheus to be a woman that is glistening oracle-like, asleep on a dark sandscape. The viewer is invited to embrace their own mortality and energy for change simultaneously. To dare to be one’s own illumination—like a transient point of light in a night sky,” adds the artist.

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