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City of Sydney and Sydney Living Museums to install new public art installation

City of Sydney and Sydney Living Museums to install new public art installation
December 23, 2019

City of Sydney and Sydney Living Museums plan to present a major new public art installation by Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones, spread across 2,500 metre² around Hyde Park Barracks courtyard, early next year.

Presented from 21st  February until 15th  March 2020 as part of the City of Sydney’s year-round Art & About program, Jones’ thought-provoking and site-specific artwork untitled (maraong manaóuwi) uses two remarkably similar symbols - the maraong manaóuwi (the Gadigal term for ‘emu footprint’) and the English broad arrow insignia (representing British colonialism) - to illustrate the vastly different stories and experiences of the same historical period.  

The major installation will comprise more than 2,000 maraong manaóuwi/broad arrow designs created out of red and white gravel sourced from Wiradjuri Country and laid across the entirety of Hyde Park Barracks’ courtyard.  

For the installation’s three-week duration as part of the official reopening of the Hyde Park Barracks, visitors are invited to walk on top of the artwork, playing a part in its slow disintegration as the bichromatic gravel mixes together the emu tracks and broad arrows and bringing into focus the importance of protecting and preserving cultural sites.

Jones advised “this installation explores the site’s history within a contemporary framework. Both these symbols talk to specific cultural ideas – two different narratives embedded in the one landscape that continue to inform our society. At the heart of this project is how we construct history, how we live with history and how history overlaps and speaks to the different communities in different ways.”

Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore noted “we are proud to be working with Jonathan Jones and Sydney Living Museums on untitled (maraong manaóuwi) at the Hyde Park Barracks for our popular Art & About program. Art & About turns locations throughout the City of Sydney into unique canvases or unexpected performance spaces for temporary art projects, as part of our $37 million annual investment in the city’s cultural and creative life.   

“We were delighted to work with Jonathan Jones in 2016 on his powerful artwork barrangal dyara - skin and bones - in the Royal Botanic Gardens and I can’t wait to see Sydneysiders and visitors engage with his new work, untitled.”

The emu is a significant animal to many Aboriginal communities; it is one of the few creatures where the father rears the young and thus speaks to community aspirations of strong family values around fatherhood. Conversely, the broad arrow is a symbol of imperial ownership and represents the convict labour force that was responsible for the expansion of Sydney and in turn, the dispersal of First Peoples from their homelands.

Related Articles

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15th February 2019 - Carriageworks and Kaldor Public Art Projects partner for major art presentation

8th December 2018 - Carriageworks announce New Public Artwork commissioned for South Eveleigh

17th February 2016 - Artists sought for new Perth museum public art project

23rd June 2015 - Albury art museum to reimagine the concept of public art

24th March 2015 - City of Hobart’s new public art project presents wildflowers, wildlife and waymarkers

10th March 2015 - $7 million facelift for Sydney’s Hyde Park

27th February 2015 - Museums Australia responds to calls for a new body for public art galleries

27th November 2013 - Study reveals the impact of Public Art Museums

19th June 2013 - Iranian art entrepreneur to open Dubai’s first public art museum

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