Born Wiradjuri nation, Central West NSW, Australia
Based in Sydney, Australia
2017, duration 24 mins, looped
Commissioned by Transport for New South Wales
Throughout July 2018
Garraywarra celebrates and creates an immersive experience of south-eastern Aboriginal culture by exploring the ngayirr (sacred) relationship between the garraba, marrin (body, the human body) and dhaagun (earth, dirt, ashes, land, soil). Garraywarra recounts the relationship between women and material forms of culture through key environmental elements: earth, sky, fire, wind and water.
Inspired by Barangaroo (an Eora fisherwoman) and Sonia Borg’s iconic Women of the Sun, garraywarra brings together concepts of place, tracing personal connections to kin and the material knowledge required to retrieve and revive the body.
The unscripted, immersive and interactive response by performer Ursula Yovich is the foundation of the work, and its most dominant feature. Each movement is a response to material and intangible references to culture – like string, shell, water and fire, material that can be traced through the generations. The body and fragments of the earth – a branch, leaves, and ochre-covered grounds – translate a cultural tradition that has endured massive change.
By bringing together the images of objects dating from pre-European contact to today (such as string, shell and bone from major museum collections), this groundbreaking layering of themes – including archaeologies of land and meditations on histories – shows that although ideas, images and practices have been translated over time, the strong connection to memory, identity and culture has remained.
- Artist: Nicole Foreshew
- Editor/Camera Operator 2: Rob Leggo
- Performer: Ursula Yovich
Artist and collaborators’ biographies
Nicole Foreshew is a Sydney-based artist, writer and curator from the Wiradjuri nation, Central West NSW, Australia. She works across a range of mediums encompassing sculpture, film and video.
In 2015 Nicole was Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Australia, and Primavera Curator, MCA’s annual exhibition of young Australian artists aged 35 and under. Since 1992, the Primavera series has showcased the works of artists and curators in the early stages of their career, many of whom have gone on to exhibit nationally and internationally.
In 2014 Arts NSW awarded Nicole a NSW Aboriginal Art Fellowship to undertake her work titled Grounded: Earth’s materials, processes and structures, which won the prestigious NSW Aboriginal Parliamentary Prize.
Nicole completed the Parramatta Artist Studios international residency program in Montreal, Canada at the Darling Fonderie studios in partnership with the Canadian Council for the Arts, 2012. Also in 2012, she was awarded the College of Fine Arts (COFA) Professional Development Award.
Nicole has taken part in several notable group shows across Australia and internationally, most notably Maamungun Compatriots, a group exhibition with works by Michael Riley at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, Australia’s Oz Fest Festival in India in 2012; Shadowlife at Bendigo Art Gallery, curated by Natalie King and Djon Mundine, 2013; Born in Darkness Before Dawn, a major public artwork commission for Place Projections, Eora Journey, a City of Sydney arts initiative, curated by Hetti Perkins, 2013; Hereby Make Protest at Carriageworks, 2014; Wiradjuri Ngurambanggu at the newly opened Murray Art Museum Albury, 2015; and Shimmer, part of Tarnanthi, the inaugural Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, South Australia, 2015.
Rob Leggo has been working as a video producer, editor and educator for almost twenty years in Greater Western Sydney. He is employed by Western Sydney University as a Blended Learning Designer, tasked with developing and implementing innovative video education objects for the School of Humanities and Communication Arts. He has received an Excellence in Teaching Award (2016), and the Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for the training methods and video production outcomes developed in this role.
Leggo is also regularly involved in freelance media productions. His video work for an installation commemorating the 100th anniversary of ANZAC day with Cunard earned an APMA Star Award in 2015. He has received various national advertising awards, and the Bryan Brown Short Film Scholarship. His projects frequent social media and have been broadcast on television. Leggo has often collaborated with artists on installation works presented in railway stations, museums, community centres and art galleries.