New artworks by leading Australian contemporary artists will be unveiled at the Blacktown Native Institution site at Ngara – Ngurangwa Byallara (Listen, Hear, Think – The Place Speaks) on Saturday, 9 June 2018.
Blacktown Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) have commissioned new works and installations by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists Tony Albert, Sharyn Egan and Moogahlin Performing Arts.
As part of their work, the artists address issues associated with the history of the site, as the former home of the Blacktown Native Institution. This is one of the earliest known examples of the institutional removal of Aboriginal children from their families.
A key element of Ngara – Ngurangwa Byallara is the collaboration between artists and local Aboriginal communities to develop work which brings the spirit and culture of the site to life, and honours the site as a living memorial to Australia’s Stolen Generations.
“I am proud that Blacktown is home to one of the largest urban Aboriginal populations in Australia,” Blacktown City Mayor Stephen Bali MP said.
“The Blacktown Native Institution is a significant part of Blacktown’s identity – and the identity of this nation.
“While acknowledging past wrongs, through this project we also aim to celebrate the Darug peoples’ continuing cultural practices and connection to this place.
“Council’s arts centre has a long history of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and our communities deserve to work with artists of international stature such as Tony Albert, Sharyn Egan and Moogahlin Performing Arts.
“We hope that this collaboration will shine a light on the important history of the Blacktown Native Institution site and the arts and cultural practices of Blacktown’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE says, “The Blacktown Native Institution Project demonstrates the need to celebrate living Aboriginal culture, while not forgetting the atrocities of colonisation. This long-term project brings artists together with community to remember the site’s history and to create a future for this important place.”
“On Saturday, 9 June, we come together for Ngara – Ngurangwa Byallara (Listen, hear, think – The Place Speaks), to celebrate the site’s importance both as a place of ceremony and culture for the Darug people and as the location of the Blacktown Native Institution. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike are invited to experience major new commissions responding to the site, including monumental sculpture, interactive artworks and large-scale performance, each made in collaboration with the local community.”
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.
Where: Blacktown Native Institution site, corner Richmond Road and Rooty Hill Road North, Oakhurst.
When: 4 pm – 8 pm on Saturday, 9 June 2018
Parking: Limited parking is available on site. A bus will leave The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre at 3.30 pm and return following the event.
Leanne Tobin, It Starts Here Now, 2015, performance documentation, Blacktown Native Institution Artist Camp #2, 2015. Image courtesy and © the artist