Uniting Church, Sydney
The lives of my people, the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, were interrupted, disrupted and then devastated by the Great British Colonialisers that chose our land, but indeed more so, our water, as their place to inhabit.
Upon arrival in Sydney’s La Perouse south of Botany Bay the land of the Kameygal. It was Governor Phillip who instructed his men to find better land, land with a clean water source to make first camp.
Heading into Sydney Harbour past what is now North & South Head, past Watsons Bay, Rose Bay, Double Bay, Ruschcutters Bay and then finally into Sydney Cove they landed ashore into what would first be called by the Colonisers as Semi-Circular Quay (now Circular Quay) and they found water. Not tidal, ocean water, but fresh, clean drinking water with small estuaries snaking their way all the way to the Harbour at one end and down toward what is now the Surry Hills border of the CBD of Sydney.
Badu (water) was our life.
Badu is at the heart of all that my people were pre-Colonisation and remain today.
Artists, Culturalists, Historians and Advocates alike are succeeding in piecing back together the most important remnants of our once thought completely desecrated Gadigal Culture.
As the first mob impacted by the Coloniser, the Gadigal were resilient, smart and madung (brave). Yes we died at large numbers at the hands of our ghostly white tourists, but the remarkable stories of Bennelong, Patyegarang, Barangaroo, Colbee and the Queen of Sydney Cora Gooseberry but to name a few, began the process that I, as a Yurura (proud/ passionate) Gadigal woman continue today. One of communication, dialogue and in sharing a very wiri (pernicious) past.
Gadigal Mudung Banarang is a metaphoric but also wholly realistic map of the Sydney area at the time of Colonisation. It contains the merging of colours for land and sea our greatest elements of Ngura (Country) to the Gadigal. It also highlights the original water source that made my Ngura one we all share today; the Tank Stream and is associated estuaries. Underlayed in this piece are the geographically important sites to my people, and to yours. With explanation you’ll find your Pitt Street, George Street and Cockle Bay, and I find my middens, camp grounds and the well-worn paths to my beloved harbour and women’s fishing spots.
We can only heal our past if we choose to share in the future together and this artwork, for me, is that. It is a moment in time of a shared history.
It has been my honour and pleasure to create this most sensitive and hopefully thought- provoking work for the Uniting Church and to pay my most humble respects to my mob the
madung Gadigal and to all our Elders past, present and emerging, especially those reclaiming our Culture.
This painting is part of one of my most popular collections: The Raining Series.
The Raining Series of works are as viewed from my place in bed whilst pondering motherhood, womanhood and what it is like to be a woman. Many mothers feel a stronger connection to Country and Culture after the birth of a child, and this particularly work was created in the final weeks of my third pregnancy.