Freshwater , part of Climarte's Art+ Climate = Change 2017 festival, considered how water reflects cultural, political, ecological and economic realities. Presenting works by over twenty contemporary Australian artists and artist collectives, alongside historic works drawn from the Shepparton Art Museum’s permanent Collection, Freshwater drew to attention how water plays a central role in forming and sustaining identity and in shaping our relationships with where and how we live.
Freshwater confronted issues ranging from ecological concerns about rising salinity, healthy ecologies, refuse and waste, to the inevitable contest around sustainable balances between conservation concerns and agricultural needs. The exhibition highlighted the ways in which rivers, lakes and other waterways have cultural and historical significance as well and the roles that bodies of water play in sustaining work and life. The political implications of waterways was also a concern of the exhibition, how their fluid nature comes to delineate territories and boundaries and how throughout history they have been a staging site for political activism and other socially important events.