Sydney is getting a major new public artwork inspired by the fish hooks used by Gadigal women for thousands of years around Sydney Harbour. The artwork is the fourth public installation in the City of Sydney’s seven-part ‘Eora Journey’ public art program. Lord mayor Clover Moore said the program is intended to “embed the stories of the First Peoples of Australia in the heart of Sydney”.
Bara, created by Aboriginal artist Judy Watson is a powerful expression of Aboriginal cultures and a reminder of their significance for our nation now and for generations to come.
My concept for bara re-imagines ancient gathering spaces where people sat by fires on the headlands and feasted. bara will provide a quiet space for ceremony, reflection and contemplation in a busy and ever changing city. It will be inspiring and educational, beautiful and transformative.
– Judy Watson, 2018
The artwork will take pride of place on the Tarpeian Precinct Lawn above Dubbagullee (Bennelong Point) and honour clans of the Eora Nation as well as the Eora women who were the main food providers for their families. Featuring two monumental bara, the fish hooks will have a gleaming finish reminiscent of local seashells. Their crescent shapes also reflect the shapes of the moon, the coves of the harbour, the sails of the Sydney Opera House and the arch of the Harbour Bridge. The impressive installation will be hard to miss, standing at more than six metres tall.
The artist and her team at Brisbane-based urban art company UAP consulted with local Elders Uncle Allen and Charles ‘Chicka’ Madden in developing her concept.
The City of Sydney will work closely with Judy Watson and cultural custodians to deliver bara. A community engagement program is being developed in partnership with the Tribal Warrior Aboriginal Corporation.
The artwork is expected to be unveiled in 2020.