This major site-specific installation, marking the reopening of the Hyde Park Barracks, looks at the similarly shaped symbols of the maraong manaóuwi (emu footprint) and the English broad arrow as a way of understanding history and cultural relations.
The emu footprint has long been inscribed by Aboriginal people as a design on sandstone outcrops and platforms, such as the engraving of the ‘emu in the sky’ constellation in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, in Sydney’s north. Conversely, the broad arrow is a symbol of imperial ownership and represents the convict labour force that was responsible for the expansion of Sydney and, in turn, the dispersal of Aboriginal peoples from their homelands.
untitled (maraong manaóuwi) comprises more than 2000 maraong manaóuwi/broad arrow designs created with red and white gravel sourced from Wiradjuri Country, covering the entire 2500 square metres of the Hyde Park Barracks courtyard. Visitors will be able to walk on top of the work, a process that intentionally results in the work’s slow destruction. This performative act questions memory, our individual roles in history, and the protection and preservation of cultural sites. The temporary project will undoubtedly leave a permanent mark on the cultural memory of Sydney.
Central to untitled (maraong manaóuwi) is a daily program of specially curated talks, demonstrations, workshops and performances that will activate the site and generate a living cultural memory. The program will include Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal elders, academics, artists and thinkers.