“The sculpture’s 8500 dots are replaceable vials containing sand and soil, extracted from as near as possible to Captain Cook’s landing site at Kurnell on Botany Bay… and Aboriginal viewers will be invited to take a vial. “Each vial handed out symbolises the return of land to an Aboriginal person,” Grant said yesterday.”
“Grant said the emotional impact of the work — as well as its complex title — on the 280 people who had received a vial so far had at times been overwhelming.
“When a person receives a vial there is often a very strong form of reconciliation within their own spirit,” he said. “No matter where they come from in Australia, they now own something that has within it a moment in time when the spiritual soul of their land was pure and connected with them.”
The title of Grant’s work is a mini-essay and begins:
Let it be known that this continent was in its true sense owned in its entirety for millennia by the Aboriginal nations of Australia both by title and spiritual belonging.
You may want to read the full article here.
As a local columnist in our Byron Shire News pointed out this week, it would be great to celebrate Australia Day on a different anniversary than when Captain Cook claimed part of this land for the Queen. This would change the story we are celebrating. Federation Day wouldn’t work (Jan 1)- most people sleep in. (Anyone got a different idea?) Since I was a University student, I have celebrated Survival Day, rather than Australia Day. Some call it Invasion Day. When I lived in Sydney, I would attend the Survival Day concerts in La Perouse, (where there had been a mission and a strong Aboriginal poplulation and where my partner Max grew up). It was at one of those concerts in the early nineties that I saw Christine Anu strut her stuff when she was still in Bangarra Dance Theatre and before she became a huge star. To hear a passionate discussion on the topic of Australian identity, you can listen to a podcast on Eric Wolf’s ‘The Art of Storytelling’ podcast, where I am interviewed by Eric with Christine Carlton (current President NSW Storytelling Guild) when we were all at a Conference in Hawaii in 2009. I hope you have had a great day whatever you have been doing today! What are your thoughts on Australia Day/ Survival Day?