Exhibition to commemorate James Cook’s arrival in Botany Bay

By Our Reporter

Blacktown Arts Centre launches Terra inFirma Project

Blacktown Arts has announced the launch of Terra inFirma, an exhibition and performance program exploring expansion, voyage and discovery running throughout 2020.

Presented during the 250th commemorative year of James Cook’s arrival in Botany Bay, Terra inFirma reveals knowledge about the region and its wider cultural histories. Featuring works by some of the country’s most exciting artists, the year-long program examines how the arrival of Cook has impacted on Dharug Peoples and communities from our Asia Pacific region, now living in Blacktown. Central to this program is the knowledge that this land was never ceded. Through personal journeys, intimate artworks and shared experiences, this program presents Cook’s arrival as an act of transgression, offering perspectives beyond the legacy of European expansionism.

The first Terra inFirma exhibition in the series will launch 5 March-23 May.

“Terra inFirma invites discussion and debate around the many stories of exploration, discovery and our shared cultural heritage,” said Mayor of Blacktown City, Cllr Tony Bleasdale. “This exciting three-part project will take place not only at the Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, but also open spaces, laneways, schools and neighbourhoods across the region.”

Indigenous Australian artists include Dharug-Dharawal artist Venessa Possum, presenting installation and video pieces that explore murura (pathways), and the importance of water as sustenance for generations of First Peoples; and Judy Watson whose mix of video and painted works will reflect on the atrocities and perpetrators of massacres from colonial Australian history.

The exhibition will also feature First Nations artists hailing from all around the globe, who now call Blacktown home. Teivao Pupu Tamariki depicts life before the forcible removable of Polynesians by colonial settlers, of navigation via bird migrations, star systems and ocean currents; Filipino artist Kristone Capistrano’s Kwentong Bangkero video work features Filipino fishermen (bangkeros) sharing their memories of the sea; and Javanese artist Jumaadi’s will present paintings inspired by the ancient history of trade between Arabs, Chinese and Indians passing through Java.

Shivanjani Lal uses burnt turmeric, a healing ritual passed down by Indian women, to reflect on the complexity of relationships to place, history and journeys; and Pakistani painter Fozia Zahid will use the traditional Indian art-form of miniature paintings to tell the story of Hyder Ali and son Tipu Sultan, who died fighting in resistance to British occupation of India.

The project’s second instalment, Terra inFirma 2 will run 11 June to 5 September, and will explore further themes in rethinking our past and present.

Event Details:
  • What: Terra inFirma Exhibition
  • When: 5 March to 23 May
  • Where: The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, 78 Flushcombe Rd, Blacktown NSW 2148
  • Price: FREE
  • For further information visit: www.blacktownarts.com.au

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