Badu Gili: Wonder Women
[by Alice Nguyen]
Coby Edgar. Image: Anna Kucera
The Sydney Opera House today announced the return of its free, nightly First Nations sails lighting from April 23, with a vibrant new projection that celebrates the work and stories of six female First Nations artists.
Badu Gili: Wonder Women, curated by Art Gallery of New South Wales Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Coby Edgar, is a creative collaboration between the Opera House and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, to mark the Gallery’s 150th anniversary.
The six-minute animation of artworks from the Art Gallery of NSW collection will appear hourly on the Opera House’s eastern Bennelong sail each night from sunset, enabled by the NSW Government’s Culture Up Late initiative.
Badu Gili: Wonder Women weaves together the work of artists from across Australia: Wathaurung elder Marlene Gilson; Yankunytjatjara woman Kaylene Whiskey; Luritja woman Sally Mulda; and Western Arrernte women Judith Inkamala and Marlene Rubuntja and the late Kamilaroi woman Elaine Russell.
The animation inspired by their works brings to life stories of shared histories – from the Eureka Stockade and mission days to the devastating bushfires of 2019-20; intimate family encounters and everyday life in First Nations communities as well as an imagined world of superheroes.
Art Gallery of New South Wales Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Coby Edgar said: “The Gallery is proud to present the first all-female artist line-up for Badu Gili and to bring together stories by artists from Wathaurung, Kamilaroi, Luritja, Western Arrernte and Yankunytjatjara Country, on Gadigal Country.
“The artists represented are respected community leaders who create figurative and narrative-based work that expands understanding of what First Nations art is and how these artists’ cultures are expressed.”
Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM said: “Since its launch in July 2017, the Badu Gili sails lighting featuring First Nations artists has been enjoyed by more than 500,000 visitors on site, with more than one million people around the world also viewing the projection online.
“It’s wonderful this time to be collaborating with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, for its 150th anniversary, exploring the depth and vibrancy of six very special artists. Thanks to the generous support of the NSW Government and the vision of Coby Edgar, Badu Gili: Wonder Women continues the rich legacy of Bennelong Point as a meeting place for culture, storytelling and community.”
Art Gallery of New South Wales Director Dr Michael Brand said: “Creative collaborations between leading Sydney cultural institutions strengthen the city’s position as a global destination for art and culture.
“Badu Gili: Wonder Women celebrates our renowned First Nations artists and their works in the Gallery’s collection, as well as our deep and longstanding relationships with communities across Australia and our curatorial leadership.
“While we work to complete our expanded art museum campus through the Sydney Modern Project that will see First Nations art brought out front and centre, we are proud to share some of our collection highlights with the world on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.”
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said: “Supporting the revival of our cultural institutions will not only help accelerate our economic recovery from the pandemic but will also boost Sydney’s cultural offerings. There's no better way to do this than on one of Australia's most spectacular backdrops. I encourage everyone to come down to the harbour, enjoy this special event and celebrate the work of Indigenous artists from across the country.”
NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said: “NSW cultural institutions play an important role in telling our national stories. Badu Gili: Wonder Women celebrates the richness and diversity of First Nations culture by sharing stories of community resilience and connection to country through the amazing art of these First Nations leaders.”
Wonder Women is the third chapter of Badu Gili, after 2017 and 2018 projections curated by the Opera House’s former Head of First Nations Programming, Rhoda Roberts AO. Badu Gili LIVE, a free outdoor music series with First Nations artists, will also return on 23 April. More information here.
Badu Gili is an important pillar of the Opera House’s year-round First Nations program, which includes recent highlights such as Dance Rites 2020, presented digitally with over 130,000 views to date on Sydney Opera House channels, and Natives Go Wild in 2019. The premiere of Badu Gili: Wonder Women will take place on Friday 23 April, 2021 and is best viewed from the top of the Opera House’s Monumental Steps. Screening times are available here.
What: Badu Gili: Wonder Women
When: Beginning Friday 23 April, 2021
Where: Best viewed from the top of the Monumental Steps
Time: Daily at sunset, 8:30pm, 9pm and 9:30pm. Screening times here.
Tickets: Free experience - all are welcome.
Badu Gili: Wonder Women is proudly funded by the NSW Government through the Culture Up Late initiative, which is part of the Summer in the City program.
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