NURA: DEEP LISTENING15 October 2022 — 3 December 2022
Maddison Gibbs, The Host, artwork mock up, 2022. Commissioned by Cement Fondu.
Curated by Dennis Golding, Nura: Deep Listening is a First Nations led exhibition grounded in practices of ‘deep listening’. The exhibition focuses on the vital role of Indigenous storytelling and listening to Country.
Reflecting the knowledge shared in conversations led by Dharug Elder Aunty Julie Clarke-Jones (Webb), the exhibition presents new commissions in sound and sculptural installation by First Nations artists Salllvage (Rowan Savage) and Maddison Gibbs. Through creative processes that respectfully hear, record and share the stories and sounds of Nura (Country), the artists have co-created an immersive exhibition that invites meditation on the care of culture and Country and the urgency of deep listening.
Located throughout the gallery, Salllvage has created Janyang/Gawal (in my tongue), a complexly layered sound installation derived from field recordings. The work transforms the space into an uncanny exploration of how Country is mediated through technology in an age in which sound is incorrectly understood to be ‘placeless’. Field recordings that the artist has faithfully reproduced from the natural world aurally blend with mutant distortions to create a sonic landscape. It also incorporates Dharawal Language recorded in collaboration between the artist and the Gujaga Foundation. Enveloping its audience, Janyang/Gawal (in my tongue) enacts and speaks to the ways in which the tools of a colonising society can be re-purposed to recreate connection in the face of alienation.
For Nura, Maddison Gibbs has created The host, a collection of spirit-like sculptures made from the collected dead branches of the Mistletoe tree. The host explores Aboriginal people’s perspective of hosting a forced colonial nexus. The lifecycle of the mistletoe tree symbolises the colonial overtaking, resulting in a mutational cohabitation for survival. Aboriginal people believe the mistletoe is a direct connection to the afterlife. The spirits sit in the tree until it flowers, and then, when the winds and fire come, the spirits get taken out to sea.
Drowned in red light, The host reflects the attempted destruction of Aboriginal culture and landscapes. The angry female protector spirits remember. Shadows, whispers of what once was, what is, and what will come next.
This project was initiated in dialogue and partnership with A.C.E and we wish to express gratitude to their team: Anne Loxely, Hannah Donnelly, Serene Yunupingu and Akala Newman. We acknowledge and thank the First Nations individuals who engaged generously in conversations around Nura (Country): Dharug knowledge holder Aunty Julie Clarke-Jones (Webb), Shanaya Donovan, Jumikah Donovan, Gerald Spence and Drew Walker.
SATURDAY 15 OCTOBER
15 OCTOBER – 3 DECEMBER
SALLLVAGE (ROWAN SAVAGE)
THURSDAY – SUNDAY
THIS PROJECT IS SUPPORTED BY THE NSW GOVERNMENT THROUGH CREATE NSW
THANKS TO OUR PRIMARY PRINT AND PROJECTION PARTNER EPSON