WELCOME TO COUNTRY
Uncle Allen Madden
Metropolitan Land Council
Ngyini ngalawangun mari budjari Gadinurada
We meet together on the very beautiful Gadi Country
Each year, the AAANZ Conference brings art scholars from across Australia and New Zealand together in a single place - to share food, work and conversation.
In 2021, this gathering takes place online. Through the mediation of the internet, we gather together in many different places simultaneously - in real and virtual rooms across the region, and the world.
One especially important site of this year’s gathering is the University of Sydney’s Camperdown campus, the home of the Conference’s co-convenors, The Power Institute and the Department of Art History. It is here that much of the planning for this Conference took place, and is the headquarters during the Conference itself.
The campus is located on the unceded land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, a place where Gadigal people have been gathering, learning and teaching for many thousands of years. In organising this conference, we have sought to pay our respect to these practices, and the Gadigal peoples’ ongoing custodianship of this Country.
At an online Conference, it is more important than ever to pay attention to the sites we speak from, their histories and futures.
As guests on Gadigal land, the Conference Organising Team would like to begin this process by introducing you to three artworks situated on the University campus, each of which focuses attention on the history of this place, and the unbroken sovereignty of the Gadigal people that care for it.
By Judy WATSON
Waanyi people, Queensland, born 1959 Mundubbera
laser cut, rolled and weathered steel, indigenous plants used for weaving and food
“Djuguma/juguma is the Indigenous name, in the Dharug or Iyora languages of the Sydney area, for the string bag made by female ancestors. The beautiful woven bag in the British Museum, on which my work is based, was taken from Port Jackson. These ancestral Aboriginal objects were made from the fibre of the Brachychiton acerifolius Illawarra flame tree, or kurrajong (Dharug), like the one in the University Quadrangle. Women cut the bark and pounded the inner flexible layer to loosen the fibres, chewing or softening it in water before weaving. (Aboriginal objects in museums carry the hair, sweat and skin of their makers.) Djuguma is a memorial to the people who were here before us, and a form of cultural retrieval, made in the hope that these objects will be returned to Country. It pays homage to the proud Aboriginal women who wore them across their foreheads as they carried children while collecting bush medicine, food and caring for Country.”
born 1965 Yawuru people, Broome
Photogrammetry and sandblasting on granite panels, bronze and steel pins
“Corroboree has its origins in the Sydney language ... as dance – gabara, car-rib-ber-re, korobra … Garabara is a word to reclaim from the generic, helping to claim it back into the local language of the Sydney area. Garabara and all its known and unknown meanings looks at knowledge that is continually accessed, uncovered, placed/displaced, enacted/re-enacted, read and interpreted, always moving, always growing.”
born 1982, descendant of the Bidjara, Garingal and Ghungalu peoples of Central Queensland
blue pigment from lapus lazuli, green pigment from vivianite, red pigment from hematite, Italian lemon pigment , Central Queensland petrified trunk
“The paintings are literally illustrations of my breath ̶ I use a little atomiser to blow the pigment onto the wall. I appropriated the atomiser from the artist Sidney Nolan, who had been to see the rock art of my country at Carnarvon Gorge in 1948, and appropriated the rock art technique of applying pigment by spray.”
“The petrified tree links to the Moreton Bay fig trees lining City Road which are important to the shared thinking about the whole site of the Lees Building that houses Environmental Sciences. There are many relations - scientific, historic, cultural, spiritual and philosophical – embedded between the living trees and the petrified trunk.”
Gosford quarry sandstone, ochre, off-form concrete plinth
“The work is an acknowledgement of the Great Dividing Range ̶ the sandstone of my country in the Carnarvon Gorge leads all the way to Sydney via the Range. Many of the university buildings have been built from that sandstone. My work makes a connection between the university campus on Gadigal territory and the culture that my ancestors have passed on. The two sandstone blocks sit side-by-side with no hierarchy.”
concrete, commercially-produced concrete oxide, hermatite
“I begin with a line of inheritance in rock art, but I am not bound to the rock art of my ancestors. Instead my work is aligned to contemporary practice with different histories and new materials. I have learnt a lot from fellow Indigenous artist Robert Andrew, the way he uses oxides. I am also looking at Mark Rothko’s 1950s paintings, in terms of building up the surface. I use a brush for the colour, as well as a roller, like the minimalist Robert Hunter. I’m looking at a lot at modernism, not in the field of appropriation or reverentially, but just working with it.”