Already Occupied is an ongoing contemporary art project that explores Aboriginal sovereignty through the use of everyday signage – such as those used for traffic control. The project employs humour, language and materiality to spark conversations about Country and the artist’s connection to it.

Already Occupied  recodes signs of construction/destruction and “safety” to privilege an Aboriginal frame of reference. In this project Libby uses hi-vis to reveal a language which has always occupied this continent. Ochre and mud converse with fluorescent polymers in acts of wayfinding, as star pickets, concrete, road cones, polyester, twine and road signs are code-switched to speak of the relationship between exploited land and the material from which colonialism is constructed, turning the tools of occupation into a vocabulary of resistance.

Libby uses this sign language to make temporary installations on country that translate the embodied knowing of performance into a gestural syntax of sovereign listening.

Instalments of Already Occupied  have been shown in various contexts including gallery installations and outdoor performances. Exhibitions have included film and still image documentation of ephemeral earthworks and site specific installations and sound.

Already Occupied genesis occurred through Libby Harward’s participation in the March 2017 Gold Coast City Council’s 4th South Stradbroke Island Indigenous Artist Camp, under the mentorship of internationally acclaimed artist Judy Watson. The project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Installations and performances have been included in Gold Coast City Gallery in the Cross Currents Exhibition at The Arts Centre Gold Coast, in September 2017, Festival 2018, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Polyphonic Social, Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne.