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Urban Grass Lands

This artwork is an abstract from a larger redevelopment project in the inner city suburb of Redfern, Sydney. The Wilson Brothers Sight, located on Eora (Yura) land, was redeveloped in the post colonial period as factories, though today will be reconstructed, based on community input and the vision of landscape architects, Pittendrigh Shinkfield and Bruce, and myself as an artist. I depended on the research and assistance of Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney and National Herbarium of New South Wales, to create a complete understanding and apparition of the area, without which the sights rich and unique history would be destroyed.
The sight continues to be an important sight for Aboriginal people, thought this inner city community is under threat. With urban sprawl taking its toll on the landscape this area has become prime real estate, and is under the watchful eye of developers. The successful implementation of this project will secure the community's placement and longevity.
This piece has generated out of the need for seating, the separation from the street to the sight itself and the recognition of the sights mixed history's, including an Aboriginal history represented by the natural environment, the post colonial built environmental history and today's current interaction with urban spaces. To achieve this the work is created from solid blocks of concrete that rises from the original foundations of the previous buildings, providing a division between the street and sight, while providing seating for the community. The rising of the original footings will secure the sight the foundations are the foothold to the earth, people will be able to physically connect the earth.
Sand blasted to the side of the footings will be an extrapolated diagram of Amphipogon Strictus, this small Sydney specific grass is next to extinct. All that is known about this grass is that it depended on fire to regenerate it's self. The suppression of Aboriginal land management practice, namely fire stick farming saw the decline of this spice. The use of this grass developed out of the need for an icon of the natural environment that existed before white invasion and the relationship that Aboriginal people have for the land. With this concepts in mind I collaborated with a member of the Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney and National Herbarium of New South Wales. Conducting this research saw the merging of two paradigms, which ultimately spoke the same message.
Appearing on the side of the footing, the grass will have appeared to have been forgotten, existing where the lawn mower can't reach. Growing on the fringes, the corner where the ground meets the wall. Commenting on the treatment of Aboriginal people, constantly pushed to the fringes, thought this consolidation gave Aboriginal comminutes strength. Now we are able to emerge from the fringes and be a visible part of the community, in the same way that Amphipogon Strictus is enlarges and sandblasted on to the footings. The re-placement of this spices on concrete comments on and is a visual reference to urban Aboriginal culture.


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