Blacktown Arts in partnership with C3West (Museum of Contemporary Art Australia), received a Museums & Galleries of NSW 2018 IMAGinE award for the recent iteration of our Blacktown Native Institution project. This project was recognised in the Engagement Programs category that acknowledges community and culturally inclusive programs, as well as those that are strategically linked to organisational priorities.
Building on two previous art activations responding to the site of the Blacktown Native Institution, this recent iteration of the project brought artists and community together to raise awareness of the site’s significance, to heal, pay tribute to Aboriginal histories and to imagine a future for the site. Artists Tony Albert and Sharyn Egan joined with Moogahlin Performing Arts to work with local Aboriginal communities, responding to the history and bringing to life the culture of the site.
Nine months of community consultation culminated in a spectacular onsite event which drew together more than 500 members of the local community. Egan worked with local weavers to create a largescale sculpture of flannel flowers in memory of the Institution’s residents, while Albert and local children used ceremony and objects to share positive memories across time. Moogahlin Performing Arts developed a dance performance with community members to honour local customs and growing up Aboriginal in Western Sydney, which included more than 40 young Aboriginal dancers.
This project has been integral in raising awareness of this important site, and in healing the site for local Aboriginal people. By acknowledging its painful colonial history alongside its much longer history of Aboriginal cultural practice, the project has fostered a renewed connection to site and Country for the many community members who were involved.
Congratulations to all fellow nominees and winners!
About IMAGinE Awards
The IMAGinE awards recognise and celebrate all institutions and the people who work in museums and galleries across NSW and the contributions they make. These awards offer a unique opportunity for museums and galleries in NSW to promote their achievements and raise their profile within the sector and the broader community.
Artist Tony Albert leading a weaving workshop, featured: Tony Albert, Gubangala Gumadangyiningi (Let’s honour his/her spirit), 2018, at Ngara – Ngurangwa Byallara (Listen, hear, think – The Place Speaks), 2018, Oakhurst NSW, co-commissioned by Blacktown Arts on behalf of Blacktown City Council and C3West on behalf of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, image courtesy and © the artist, photograph: Anna Kučera