Shell Wall 2015: Barangaroo’s first public artwork revealed

18 Jan 2016

A beautiful seven-storey shell art installation was unveiled at Barangaroo today – the first public art to be commissioned and created under the Barangaroo Public art and Cultural Plan.

Titled shell wall 2015, the artwork is a collaboration between Bidjigal/Eora elder and senior artist Esme Timbery and Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones. It represents the first of seven public art works commissioned at Barangaroo.

The magnificent artwork standing 22 metres tall at the southern gateway to Barangaroo, marks the beginning of a series of public artworks that will be introduced to Sydney’s cultural landscape under the Plan.

Fixed to the Alexander building’s façade at Barangaroo South, shell wall 2015 is a vertical series of larger-than-life aluminium shell panels that represents an enduring connection to Country and the site’s significant Aboriginal and maritime history.

Speaking at the launch to more than 100 people from the arts and Indigenous community, Simon Mordant AM, the Chair of the Lendlease Art Advisory Panel, said the artwork launches a journey of artistic discovery for visitors to Barangaroo: “shell wall is a stunning example of the wide range of public art, interpretive elements, and cultural and civic events which will be admired, debated and appreciated by Sydneysiders and tourists for many years to come.”

The artwork is based on generations of Bidjigal knowledge, passed on to Esme Timbery and her family through her maternal line. It celebrates the culturally significant shell-making tradition that is unique to the Sydney Aboriginal community of La Perouse, and the female artists from this seaside community whom have been creating beautiful shell work for generations.

Emily McDaniel, curator of the artwork, said it is specific to Sydney and could not be placed anywhere else in the world: “As we admire this Indigenous artwork, we are reminded that we are situated alongside one of the most beautiful and naturally abundant harbours in the world, and that despite the ever-changing skyline of Sydney city, we are all standing on Eora country.”

The Barangaroo Public Art and Cultural Plan was formally adopted by the NSW Government in July 2015, and reflects the exciting artistic opportunities presented by a precinct of Barangaroo’s scale.

You can read more about the Public Art and Cultural Plan for Barangaroo and download the Barangaroo art and culture info-graphic.

The Barangaroo Delivery Authority’s Public Art and Cultural Panel, chaired by Gabrielle Trainor, was established to guide the strategic planning and delivery of public art and cultural initiatives across the precinct. It has worked in partnership with the Lendlease Art Advisory Panel, chaired by Simon Mordant AM.