This year marks two milestone dates: the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision. Reconciliation Week starts on May 27, which is the anniversary of the 1967 referendum, and it runs to Mabo Day on June 3, the day the High Court of Australia recognised the land rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It’s an annual celebration of how far we’ve come, but also a recognition of what’s yet to be achieved.
Events during National Reconciliation Week
Bangarra Dance Theatre has created a Vivid Light art installation that honours one of Australia’s most mythologised and celebrated individuals from the days of first contact: Woollarawarre Bennelong. See the story of his life as it's depicted in contemporary movement and projected on the southern pylon of the Harbour Bridge. Artistic director Stephen Page and head of design Jacob Nash have created a work that shows Bennelong's audacious personality and important story as the first Indigenous author, and one of the first Aboriginal people to have their life story recorded and documented by Western writers.
For National Reconciliation Week, the Australian National Maritime Museum will be illuminating its 1,700sqm rooftop with a special projection inspired by the work of Gail Mabo, daughter of Eddie Koiki Mabo. The projection honours 25 years since the historic Mabo decision and the Native Title ruling. The specially commissioned rooftop projection is designed by animator Jake Duzyns.
This collaborative project between the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and Art Month Sydney matches new music with new public art to explore the heritage of the Barangaroo site. BDA commissioned Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir and their young resident composer, Alice Chance, to compose six songs in response to the site and to Barangaroo the woman.
Nakkiah Lui (Black Comedy; Kill the Messenger) is tackling the 'festive season family dramedy' genre with this comedy about a young woman who brings her suprise fiancé home to meet the family. Shari Sebbens (The Sapphires; The Bleeding Tree) stars alongside Kylie Bracknell, Tony Briggs, Luke Carroll, Geoff Morrell and James Bell. Sydney Theatre Company's Richard Wherrett fellow Paige Rattray directs.
This companion piece to the Art Gallery of NSW's concurrent exhibition Sentient Lands features works by contemporary Aboriginal artists around the theme of the right to land. Our Lands features work by Gordon Bennett, Daniel Boyd, Robert Campbell Jr, Brenda L Croft, Destiny Deacon, Kevin Gilbert, Julie Gough, Gordon Hookey, Djambawa Marawili, Bobby West Tjupurrula, Ben Galmidle Ward and Judy Watson.
In this exhibition on tour from Cairns Regional gallery, four of Australia's most exciting artists present new work that explores the wide-ranging impact of colonisation on First Nations communities: Michael Cook (Bidjara, southeast Queensland), Fiona Foley (Badtjala, Fraser Island), Angela Tiatia (who grew up between New Zealand, Samoa and Australia) and Taloi Havini (born in the autonomous province of Arawa, in Bougainville).
The third edition of the National Gallery of Australia's National Indigenous Art Triennial is dedicated to showcasing the diversity and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practice in Australia, over 30 artists that are predominantly mid-career. Artists working with natural materials and traditional methods, such as Tasmanian Lola Greeno, Tiwi Islander Pedro Wonaeamirri, and South Australian Yvonne Koolmatrie, sit alongside painters Judy Watson, Daniel Boyd and Rusty Peters; photomedia artists Brenda L. Croft and Julie Gough sit alongside sculptural artists such as Ken Thaiday Sr and Yhonnie Scarce, and textile/installation artists Karla Dickens and Vicki West.