Macquarie Group is hosting a new exhibition in its Martin Place office, curated by the National Museum of Australia in collaboration with Indigenous strategy and design agency Balarinji. The exhibition, Warrane, is 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. Macquarie’s 50 Martin Place office is located on Gadigal Country and Warrane is the Sydney language word for Sydney Cove.
While acknowledging the negative effects of British occupation on Aboriginal people in Sydney, Warrane focuses on the agency and resilience of Aboriginal people in the area by exploring Gadigal connection to and Custodianship of Country.
Gadigal Elder Ray Davison, who features in the exhibition, 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.”
Director of the National Museum of Australia, Mathew Trinca, said, “We’re delighted to partner with Macquarie on the Warrane exhibition, which explores Gadigal custodianship in an honest and collaborative dialogue, focusing on the changing landscape during the Macquarie era from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal perspectives.”
Balarinji Managing Director, Ros Moriarty, said, “Australia’s foundational Indigenous narrative is still very often missing when we reflect on our country’s history. We’ve been delighted to work with Macquarie Group and the National Museum of Australia to help reveal this part of Sydney’s story in co-design with the city’s Traditional Custodians.”
Designed by interpretive design firm Trigger to be an immersive experience, the main visual and aural focus in the exhibition is on Gadigal voices. One standout piece of the exhibition is a captivating soundscape with poetry spoken in Sydney language by Gadigal man Joel Davison and Sydney language spoken by Gadigal women Alannah Davison and Tahlia Davison, with original music composed by Balarinji Creative Director and Yanyuwa man, Tim Moriarty.
“I composed this piece in a unique collaboration with Joel Davison, Gadigal man. My journey and investigative structure of sound and music explores a universal cinematic language, as it carefully walks and defines new territory as an aesthetic whilst uncovering and maintaining the authenticity and timelessness of our strongly kept culture as guardians of our stories. We are proud to explore different facets of voices in a traditional way through new media to be able to share our culture with diverse audiences,” said Mr Moriarty.
Through these voices, visitors are encouraged to consider their own connections to the land on which they live. In addition, objects from the collections of Macquarie Group and the NMA are on display, as well as interactive digital content.
The NMA website provides further details about the exhibition. The website also features a reading list exploring the effects of the colonisation of Sydney from Aboriginal perspectives, in order to provide visitors interested in exploring the occupiers’ relationships with Aboriginal people with reliable and informative source material.
The exhibition is open to the public from 7am-7pm, Monday to Friday, and located at 50 Martin Place (enter via Elizabeth Street).
Curatorial and design team:
Gadigal speakers: Ray Davison, Joel Davison, Alannah Davison, Tahlia Davison
Curator: Libby Stewart, National Museum of Australia
Creative direction and exhibition design: Gregory Anderson, Trigger – Vision Strategy Design
Aboriginal cultural design and content manager: Rachael Barrowman, Balarinji
Soundscape composer: Tim Moriarty, Yanyuwa man, Balarinji