Iconic Sea of Hands for reconciliation comes to Barangaroo

9 May 2016

ANTaR, national organisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reconciliation and rights, is partnering with the Barangaroo Delivery Authority to bring its interactive symbol of reconciliation, the Sea of Hands.

The Sea of Hands event begins with a free Opening Night Concert on Friday, 27 May (5:00pm-8:30pm) featuring live performances by Indigenous artists on Barangaroo Reserve’s Walumil Lawns.

Thousands of visitors are expected to take part in the evolving installation between Friday, 27 May and Sunday, 5 June to reflect on Australia’s national identity and the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures in our nation’s story.

Visitors can participate by planting a hand between 10:00 am - 4:00 pm each day until Saturday, 4 June.

The vibrant installation has been designed by Gurindji/Malngin/Mudpurra artist and researcher Brenda L Croft. It is inspired by historical portraits depicting Eora men, including one of Barangaroo’s husbands, Bennelong, adorned in customary ochre body markings. Customary markings on the body reference the integral relationship that Indigenous people have to, and with, Country.

Barangaroo Delivery Authority, CEO, Craig van der Laan said: “We are delighted to be hosting ANTaR’s Sea of Hands at Barangaroo Reserve this year. It is a wonderful way to highlight the rich cultural history of the site and also to reunite in a symbolic way two key figures from our shared past, Barangaroo and her husband, Bennelong.  We invite Sydneysiders to visit Barangaroo Reserve to participate in this terrific community demonstration of the commitment to a more inclusive future for all Australians”.

ANTaR, National Director, Andrew Meehan said Barangaroo Reserve, named after a powerful Cammeraygal woman and key figure in local Aboriginal culture and community in the late 1700s, was an obvious choice for the 16,000-hand Sea of Hands installation.

“Not only does the site’s name serve as an important public reminder of the Aboriginal history and traditional custodianship of the area, it lies in sight of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, where more than 350,000 Australians walked in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as part of the Harbour Bridge Walk in 2001.

“We want to draw attention to the Aboriginal history of the area, and capture the spirit of the Harbour Bridge Walk again by holding the largest Sea of Hands installation this century,” said Mr Meehan.

Visitors to Barangaroo Reserve can learn more about reconciliation at the ANTaR information hub and also book an Aboriginal cultural tour with Barangaroo’s Visitor Services Guides.

For more information about the event, please visit www.antar.org.au/seaofhands and www.barangaroo.sydney.