• Deirdre Martins woven nawi sculpture piece for Sculpture at Barangaroo. Photo: Kata Bayer
The recently renewed waterfront edge on the west of Sydney Harbour, named after powerful Cammeraygal woman, Barangaroo, is host to a new sculpture exhibition that is showcasing and highlighting the rich history of the area from pre-colonial times through new and existing artworks.
Emily Nicol

11 Aug 2016 - 10:41 AM  UPDATED 12 Aug 2016 - 4:31 PM

Teaming up with the Sculpture by the Sea team, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority are celebrating the cultural history of the Sydney Harbour area and among the 12 sculptures that are on display, there are a few works that have taken inspiration from the inspirational and strong woman that Barangaroo is widely known to have been.

Yuin woman, Aunty Deirdre Martin, who was raised in La Perouse and is known for her bush tucker tours and her weaving skill and artistry has created a large scale piece that depicts a nawi, the local word for canoe. Inspired by the skilled and industrious women of Barangaroo's time whose survival depended on their fishing, ecology and sustainability practices. 



We are very excited to be presenting Sculpture at Barangaroo. Works to be exhibited by the extraordinary team of assembled artists will highlight the textures of Barangaroo’s spectacular sandstone and gardens, drawing on our commitment to sustainability and the significance of Aboriginal history and culture in this special place. - Barangaroo Delivery Authority CEO Craig van der Laan

Melbourne based Malaysian Australian artist Sangeeta Sandrasegar has created a unique sculpture which allows viewers to walk across a patterned chain of plastic pearls that inscribe a poem that is dedicated to the commitment and fierce love of women and mothers, which were qualities that Barangaroo the woman embodied.


'Barangaroo Dreaming' is another large scale piece which has been created by artist collective Garaywaa Murnawaraga (The Milky Way Daughters). Yuin women and cousins Tereasa Trevor and Lyndsay Urquhart along with Birri Gubba/Ugar woman Emily Nicol have brought to life an almost 3m high steel crinoline, a hooped petticoat that was worn in the times of early European settlement to make a skirt stand out - and transformed it into something that they imagined Barangaroo would have valued more than fashion, a fish trap. The artists held workshops around the greater Sydney area to share the skills of weaving and fish-hook making with other Aboriginal men and women who then contributed to the adornment of the sculpture. Using gymea lily weaving, lomandra, abalone fish hooks and shell art, the entire piece was then activated in white ochre. 

The exhibition was officially opened last Saturday with a performance from Jannawi Dance Clan and artists and collaborators from Garaywaa Murnawaraga. The main piece of music was composed and sung by award winning artist Richard Green in Dharug language and spoke of the importance of men listening to the women. The final dance was a piece depicting women fishing and collecting food in reference to the many strong women that were carrying out these activities for thousands of years along Sydney Harbour.

Sculptures at Barangaroo runs from 6-21st August. Head to http://www.barangaroo.sydney/  for more information