What we’d like to achieve by dedicating an artwork – is an opportunity to give thanks – to pay homage to the Eora, the traditional custodians of the land.
– Lachlan McDaniel
Current member and former Co-Chair, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel
In September 2015, the City of Sydney called for Expressions of Interest from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to submit proposals for a major public artwork to honour the Eora, the Aboriginal people of Sydney, and recognise the Gadigal clan as the traditional custodians of the City of Sydney local area.
Artists were asked to consider sites that include land and water in their curtilage given the holistic nature of the relationship of the Gadigal people on whose country the artwork is intended to be located.
Located in the heart of Australia’s global city and international gateway, the artwork will be a landmark of national and international significance and be a place that receives visitors from across Australia and overseas. Beyond being a marker of a place, the intention for the commission is to symbolically represent or evoke the layered histories and diverse stories of Sydney.
It is hoped that the artwork will become a beacon for the Indigenous community offering recognition in the public domain to the Aboriginal community’s enduring presence in Sydney.
In November 2015 a shortlist of artists were selected by an Evaluation Panel that included members of the City of Sydney’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Public Art Advisory Panels, as well as cultural leaders in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and other cultural experts. As part of the tender process artists were paid a fee to develop their proposals.
The Artist’s Brief acknowledged that sites proposed adjacent to Sydney Harbour may be located in areas outside the jurisdiction of the City of Sydney. Prior to the launch of the Artist’s Brief the City met with key stakeholders responsible for these sites within the local government area.
In June 2016 the ‘Monument for the Eora’ Evaluation Panel selected an artist’s concept proposal to recommend to Council. Following this, in August 2016, Council unanimously endorsed the appointment of the Evaluation Panel’s recommended artist; the appointment of an expert with cultural expertise specific to the proposal of the recommended tenderer; and the expenditure of funds on land not under the control of the City of Sydney.
City staff and the Eora Journey Curatorial Advisor, Hetti Perkins, are currently working with the selected artist and their team to further develop the concept and secure the relevant authorities support, prior to making the artist’s proposal public.
The Monument for the Eora is one of seven major public artworks in the Eora Journey: Recognition in the Public Domain program.