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Reconciliation conversations – Member Lean In session
28 May 2020 at 12:00 pm AEST
The Australian Institute of Architects is proud to present our member Lean In session in conjunction with Reconciliation Conversations, an initiative launched by the NSW Chapter’s Reconciliation Working Group in May 2019 and supported by our Reconciliation Program Partner Macquarie Group. The program consists of provocations, policy and project conversations focused on progressing reconciliation within the architectural profession in New South Wales and across Australia.
During the Member Lean In Session on Thursday 28 May 2020, we will be featuring Wadi Wadi-Walbanga artist Alison Page and Wiradjuri-Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones. Alison and Jonathan each completed a significant public art installation this year to acknowledge Australia’s layered history. This session is chaired by Samantha Rich who is Wiradjuri and a member of the Institute’s Reconciliation Working Group.
Jonathan will discuss his installation untitled (maraong manaoìuwi), located at UNESCO world heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks Museum in Sydney, and Alison will elaborate on her sculpture piece The Eyes of the Land and the Sea, which she created with artist Nik Lachacjzak as part of Kamay 2020 – a project commemorating 250 years since the encounter between Aboriginal Australians and the crew of the HMB Endeavour. Both artists’ work promotes understanding and reflection on the different perspectives that people have of history. They invite us to question memory, our individual roles in history, and the protection and preservation of cultural sites.
Alison Page is a Wadi Wadi and Walbanga woman from the Yuin Nation and is a film producer, designer and artist who is motivated to tell Indigenous stories in multidisciplinary art forms. For over 20 years, her practice spans architecture, interiors, sculpture, jewellry and now film. Her latest projects include The Message, a film at the National Museum of Australia which tells the story of Captains Cook voyage in 1770 from the Indigenous perspective, and a large scale bronze sculpture at Captain Cook’s landing site.
As a leading force in the Australian design scene, Page champions the contemporary creative expression of Aboriginal identity. Her creative practice explores links between cultural identity, art and the built environment. As one of three associates of Merrima Design from 1995-1999, she worked with various Aboriginal communities in the delivery of culturally appropriate architectural services. She founded her own interior design studio in 1999 and has since completed projects spanning interiors, public art, installations and film. The film-making comes through a collaboration with cinematographer Nik Lachacjzak who has had over 20 years of experience in all facets of production.
Alison was the founding CEO of the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance and director of their annual Saltwater Freshwater festival. She was the founder of the National Aboriginal Design Agency, and was a member of the expert panel for the federal government’s Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous People. She appeared for eight years as a regular panelist on the ABC TV show The New Inventors.
A member of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi nations of south-east Australia, Jonathan Jones is an artist, curator and researcher. As an artist he works across a range of mediums, from printmaking and drawing to sculpture and film, to create site-specific installations and interventions that engage Aboriginal practices, relationships and knowledge.
Jones’ work champions local knowledge systems, is grounded in research of the historical archive and builds on community aspirations. At the heart of his practice is the act of collaborating and many projects have seen him work with other artists and communities, including with Dr Uncle Stan Grant Senior. Jones has exhibited both nationally and internationally, and his work has been collected by state, national and international institutions. In 2016 Jonathan presented the 32nd Kaldor Public Art Project barrangal dyara: skin and bones, at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, and in 2018 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship in the field of visual arts.
As a curator, Jones has worked at several institutions. He held the position of curator at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative (2000–02) and was curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2002–12). Jones has curated exhibitions throughout Australia, including the State Library of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia and Australian Museum and various regional galleries. Along with developing exhibitions and publishing exhibition catalogues, he champions education and programming, and has written education kits, directed films and conducted symposiums and conferences. Jones is dedicated to the development and celebration of south-east Aboriginal artists and culture. Along with Hetti Perkins, he founded South-East Market, the only regional market for south-east Aboriginal artists.
Jones completed his PhD in 2018. Titled Murruwaygu: following in the footsteps of our ancestors, his research charts four generations of south-east men’s art practices and considers the shared use of the line in south-east artworks. His ongoing research focuses on cultural practices of the south-east and he has published widely for both journals and exhibition publications.
Samantha Rich works at Billard Leece Partnership as the Project Design Coordinator. She is Wiradjuri and a member of the Institute’s Reconciliation Working Group. Currently pursuing a master’s degree in architecture at UNSW, she has worked for Design Inc, SJB and Lend Lease previously. Samantha has been incorporating the needs of Aboriginal Australians into the design of spaces through her projects, and working to implement strategies towards Reconciliation within the practice of architecture and the broader built environment.
Australian Institute of Architects’ Reconciliation Conversations event series and the NSW Reconciliation Prize for Architecture is supported by Macquarie Group. We thank our partner Macquarie Group for their ongoing support of our programs.
We acknowledge at the heart of reconciliation is the relationship between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. To foster positive relations, our relationship must be grounded in a foundation of truth. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long called for a comprehensive process of truth-telling about Australia’s colonial history. Our nation’s troubling past is reflected in the present, and will continue to play out in future unless we heal historical wounds. We look forward to welcoming you to the session as we investigate what our collective and individual roles in reconciliation could be and how best to work together to make this happen.
Lean In sessions
Lean In sessions are an opportunity to bring our community together and share experiences during this challenging time.
Bring a sandwich or a cuppa and join the conversation.