My concept for bara re-imagines ancient gathering spaces where people sat by fires on the headlands and feasted. bara will provide a quiet space for ceremony, reflection and contemplation in a busy and ever changing city. It will be inspiring and educational, beautiful and transformative.
– Judy Watson, 2018
bara by Aboriginal artist Judy Watson is a major new permanent artwork to celebrate the First Peoples of Sydney, the traditional custodians of Gadigal Country.
The artwork will take pride of place on the Tarpeian Precinct Lawn above Dubbagullee (Bennelong Point) and honour clans of the Eora Nation and Elders past and present.
Featuring a monumental bara, the fish hooks crafted and used by Gadigal women for thousands of generations, the work will have a gleaming finish reminiscent of local seashells. The crescent shape also reflects the shapes of the moon, the coves of the harbour, the sails of the Sydney Opera House and the arch of the Harbour Bridge.
This artwork is a powerful expression of Aboriginal cultures and a reminder of their significance for our nation now and for generations to come.
Co-chair of the City of Sydney’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel, Tracey Duncan, said the artwork will honour the significance of the site:
‘This site means a lot to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Sydney and the wider community. We will finally have a presence of this magnitude and an opportunity to share our culture, our history, and our knowledge with others who come to view it.’
The artist and her team at Brisbane-based urban art company UAP consulted with local Elders Uncle Allen and Charles ‘Chicka’ Madden in developing her concept.
The City of Sydney will work closely with Judy Watson and cultural custodians to deliver bara. A community engagement program is being developed in partnership with the Tribal Warrior Aboriginal Corporation.
The artwork will be unveiled mid-2022.
Judy Watson was the 2015 recipient of the Australia Council’s visual arts award and her work is held in major Australian and international collections. She has exhibited widely over the past 25 years, including representing Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1997.