Barrangal Dyara (Skin and Bones) by artist Jonathan Jones has reshaped the historical understanding of thousands who have wandered through the vast re-imagining of Sydney’s 1879 expansive exhibition building The Garden Palace.
Steve spent two weeks on the Kaldor education team, facilitating school, family and holiday workshops. Participants interacted with the Garden’s native Cadi Garden and the installation of 15,000 white shields outlining the footprint of the 250m x 150m Garden Palace. They listened to sound installations of revived Aboriginal languages and smelt the planting of native kangaroo grass. This grass was seen by colonists in vast plantations that served as the breadbasket of the world’s first bread-making culture. It needs fire to germinate. The life-giving nature of this cultural fire is being offered by the artist as an alternative to the cultural full-stop of the fire that burnt down the Garden Palace, erasing it from Sydney’s memory.
Kids and families were given the profound opportunity to reconsider this part of our cultural history, and to imagine a new chapter of which they are co-writers. The blank, white shields are the perfect symbol of a blank canvas. A canvas inviting as new story.