Macquarie Group engaged Balarinji to collaborate with the National Museum of Australia and interpretation design studio Trigger to curate an exhibition in Macquarie’s 50 Martin Place office named Warrane, the Gadigal word for Sydney Cove.
Warrane was centred around the idea of Place, exploring Gadigal custodianship of Country and the influence that Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie had on the physical shape and identity of Sydney.
Balarinji worked with Gadigal family, the Davisons, to curate four elements of the exhibit which look at the changing landscape of Sydney through an Aboriginal lens. The exhibition also focused on the agency and resilience of Aboriginal people in the area by exploring Gadigal connection to and custodianship of Country.
The rock engravings, Welcome to Country video, Sydney Language soundscape, and Sydney Language map combined to share an overview of Gadigal culture and history.
The main visual and aural focus in the exhibition was the Gadigal voices of the Davison family.
The captivating soundscape with poetry written in Sydney language by Gadigal man Joel Davison and spoken by Gadigal women Alannah Davison and Tahlia Davison, paired with original music composed by Balarinji Creative Director and Yanyuwa man, Tim Moriarty, was one of the main highlights of the experience.
Through these voices, visitors were encouraged to consider their own connections to the land on which they live.
Gadigal Elder Ray Davison who features in the Welcome to Country video, said “It’s wonderful that organisations like Macquarie Group and National Museum of Australia are getting Traditional Owners involved, celebrating our stories and sharing our voice, it’s empowering.”
“In recent times I’ve seen and felt attitudes towards Aboriginal culture and perspective change so to have this exhibition on Traditional land, showing great respect and an attitude of wanting to get things right, it’s really important. I believe that if you are born on Country, you are part of Country, we all share this story, and that is essentially what the Warrane exhibition is about.”
In addition, objects from the collections of Macquarie Group and the NMA were also displayed, as well as interactive digital content.