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Home News New works on symbolic Blacktown site

New works on symbolic Blacktown site

by Jodie Polutele

Leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists Tony Albert, Sharyn Egan and Moogahlin Performing Arts bring fresh ideas and energy to Ngara – Ngurangwa Byallara (Listen, Hear, Think – The Place Speaks). Informed by new community collaborations, their works aim to bring the spirit and culture of the Blacktown Native Institution site to life, and imagine a future for this important landmark.

The artworks will be unveiled on the site at Ngara – Ngurangwa Byallara (Listen, Hear, Think – The Place Speaks) on Saturday, 9 June 2018.

TONY ALBERT

“My project is about healing the site. I’m working with community member Julie Jones and ten local children and their families to reimagine ten of the children originally at the Institution. People will be encouraged to gift a memory to the reimagined children by writing it down on paper embedded with vegetation. The paper will be buried onsite and will heal the area. The objects I am making with the children can also possibly have a presence inside institutions, museums or galleries around Australia and the world. Great memories can be gifted and brought back to Country for the purpose of healing the site.”

Queensland artist Tony Albert is well known for his innovative approach to collaboration with children and young people. For Ngara – Ngurangwa Byallara (Listen, hear, think – The Place Speaks), he has worked alongside local Darug woman Julie Bukari Webb and 10 local youngsters and their families to create Gubangala Gumadangyiningi (Lets honour his/her spirit), a reimagining and honouring of 10 of the children who originally lived at the Institution. A suite of objects created by Albert and his young collaborators will be utilised in a ceremony to reach across time to heal and share positive memories. Visitors will be encouraged to gift a memory to the reimagined children by describing their gift on paper embedded with vegetation. The paper will be buried onsite and will help to heal the area and build a new and positive future.

SHARYN EGAN

“I’m a Nyoongar woman from Perth, Western Australia. Being involved in the Blacktown Native Institution Project is quite special for me as I’m from the Stolen Generation as well. I’m working on flowers, as flowers are used for all occasions, sad, happy, joyous – it seems to cover all the emotions that are involved in this project. I’m using marine rope – it lasts for years and keeps its colour. I’m working with the community on them. I’m going to do them on a large scale so they can bring a bit of notice to the site where the Institution was.”

Perth-based artist Sharyn Egan’s work is informed by her personal experience of loss and displacement as a member of the Stolen Generations, and centres around sharing the medium of weaving with communities during the exchange of stories and experiences. The Blacktown project sees her working with the Baabayn Aboriginal Corporation and local weavers to create a sculptural installation of 7 large-scale flannel flowers made of colourful marine rope. Native to the local area, this delicate flower will be transformed into a monumental memorial to the Institution’s residents, as a semi-permanent installation at the Blacktown Native Institution site.

MOOGAHLIN PERFORMING ARTS

“We thought about what life was like before invasion and wanted to celebrate that life, rather than respond to European intervention through the Blacktown Native Institution. Working with kids, elders and families, along with a number of dance groups, we are creating a performance that celebrates the community that’s there now as well as the historical, traditional community. There will also be gunyas, shelters where people lived, allowing for moments of private contemplation. We want it to be a celebratory work that engages as many people from Western Sydney as possible.”

Sydney’s Moogahlin Performing Arts bring their expertise as storytellers and deep knowledge and experience of local community to this event, with manuwi jam ya murong (footprints in the sand). This celebratory work honours local people who have grown up in Blacktown, with the creation of a large scale installation of the Darug totem – the long necked turtle, in collaboration with local community elders, kids and families. On Saturday, June 9 the totem will come to life as the grounds for an evening of dance performance, whilst the installation of traditional gunyas or shelters will allow visitors to experience a moment of private contemplation in this uniquely sacred space.

Ngara – Ngurangwa Byallara (Listen, Hear, Think – The Place Speaks) is part of the Blacktown Native Institution Project, a collaboration between Blacktown Arts (an initiative of Blacktown City Council) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (through their C3West Program). The project is supported by Landcom, Gadigal Information Service and Koori Radio.

More Information

Where:  Blacktown Native Institution site, corner Richmond Road and Rooty Hill Road North, Oakhurst.

When: 4 pm – 8 pm on Saturday, 9 June 2018

Cost: Free

Parking: On-site parking is available, with entry from Richmond Rd

Image
Tony Albert, Lily Shearer, Frederick Copperwaite, Liza-Mare Syron and Sharyn Egan by Joshua Morris.

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