Jonathan Jones: barrangal dyara

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barrangal dyara 6 (Photograph: Anna Kucera)
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Photograph: Anna Kucera
Ceramic shields
barrangal dyara 3 (Photograph: Peter Greig)
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Photograph: Peter Greig
barrangal dyara 5 (Photograph: Anna Kucera)
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Photograph: Anna Kucera
Native Kangaroo Grass meadow
barrangal dyara 1
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Lithograph, ‘Burning of the Garden Palace, Sydney’, Gibbs Shellard & Company, 1882. Collection: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney
barrangal dyara 2
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Exterior, the Garden Palace, Sydney, c1879. Collection: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney.

Kaldor Public Art Projects are teaming up with an Australian artist for the first time, to present this epic installation in Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens

The 19th century is brought back to life in Jonathan Jones' behemoth installation for Kaldor Public Art Projects.

Called barrangal dyara (meaning ‘skin and bones’ in Gadigal), the sculptural installation occupies roughly 20,000 square-metres of the garden, and incorporates a native Kangaroo grassland (on which performances, talks and activities will take place over the course of the project) and 15,000 white ceramic shields.

Jones, a member of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi nations of southeast Australia, was commissioned by Kaldor Public Art Projects after submitting his idea as part of their Very Good Idea initiative in 2014 – an open call-out to Australian artists for public art ideas.

Jones's proposal was to create an installation in response to the destruction by fire of the RBG's 19th century Garden Palace, and its collection of culturally significant Indigenous objects and artefacts, in 1882.

About Jonathan Jones

Jones has a body of work that includes major commissions for the Star City casino, the 2012 Biennale of Sydney, and Barangaroo.

In 2015, his massive neon wall-work 'naa (to see or look)' was a highlight of the MCA exhibition Luminous; and his installation Guguma Guriin ('Black Stump') was a centrepiece of Performance Space's Liveworks program at Carriageworks.

Download the app before your visit

Make sure you download the free barrangal dyara app before your visit – for iPhone or for Android. It's not essential for your experience but it will add a richer context for what you're seeing, and includes extra material.

Talks and artist demonstrations

Head along on opening weekend, September 17-18, for a series of FREE talks and programs in an on-site marquee adjacent to the installation.
* Artist talk with Jonathan Jones. Sat & Sun 12.30pm.
* Sydney Festival director Wesley Enoch talks about the importance of Sydney as a site of performance. Sat 1pm-2pm.
* Artist demonstration featuring celebrated Bidjigal artist and elder Esme Timbery and her daughter Marilyn Russell (Bidjigal), demonstrating shell work. Sat 2.30pm & Sun 11am.

Learn more about the project

Read more about barrangal dyara and see aerial footage of the installation. 

By: Dee Jefferson

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