In the spirit of ‘Old Lady Barangaroo’

Two award-winning Indigenous artists have been commissioned to tell the stories of Aboriginal women in and around the Barangaroo precinct area and create a multi-media experience that will capture the rich Indigenous history of Sydney.

Genevieve Grieves and Amanda Reynolds have been appointed under the Barangaroo Delivery Authority’s Artistic Associates Program. They will collaborate on a year-long project to deliver short films that will be accessible to Barangaroo Reserve visitors through their mobile devices.

The pair has previously collaborated on the highly-acclaimed First Peoples exhibition at the Melbourne Museum, which opened in November 2013 and was awarded the Best Exhibition and Best Project nationwide at the Museums and Galleries Australia National Awards in 2014.

The $6billion Barangaroo precinct in the heart of Sydney and named after the wife of Bennelong, is one of the world’s most ambitious urban renewal projects. It covers 22 hectares of prime harbour-side land and will create 2400 jobs in the construction of Mr Packer’s casino, apartment towers and business high rise blocks.

Grieves and Reynolds’ work will focus on Indigenous women and they will undertake extensive community consultation with Elders and members of Cammeraygal, Gadigal, and other members of the Eora Nation and neighbours.

“We are extremely excited to offer audiences who may never have had the opportunity to connect with Aboriginal culture the chance to learn about the site’s namesake. We’re inspired to bring the community together to honour the Old Lady, Barangaroo, as well as all the women who came after and those yet to come,” Ms Reynolds said.

The installation will grow and evolve through the process of community collaboration, as the artists respond to and capture the essence of the Barangaroo site and its place in Sydney.

“Film and multi-media are such powerful mediums for furthering Aboriginal culture and strengthening cultural traditions, as storytelling through these channels allows us to capture people, sounds and light to convey the place of Country,” Ms Grieves said.

The commission is the first of a series of Artistic Associate commissions to be announced under the Barangaroo Public Art and Cultural Plan, a strategic framework for the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and its development partners to guide the commissioning and management of public art across the precinct. The Plan establishes the framework for a multi-million dollar investment in public art and cultural programing at Barangaroo.

The first public art commission under the Plan was an art installation, Shell Wall 2015 by local Aboriginal artists Esme Timbery and Jonathan Jones, which is now in place on the exterior of the Alexander residential building on Wulugul Walk in Barangaroo South.

Gabrielle Trainor, Chair of the Authority’s Art and Cultural Panel, said: “From a very strong field, their (Grieves and Reynolds) response to our invitation stood out for its firm base in cultural engagement with Elders, our Indigenous communities and neighbours, and for the quality of the two major underpinning concepts. They resonate deeply with the strong presence of the Cammeraygal woman, Barangaroo, and the ancient history of the site.

“Amanda and Genevieve’s experience in producing moving and meaningful poetic pieces, reflecting Aboriginal traditions of storytelling and ceremony, makes us very excited about the months ahead.

“The results will be an outstanding celebration of the world’s oldest living culture combined with the new, as is the Barangaroo precinct itself,” Ms Trainor said.

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