Aboriginal Elders tell Sydney’s most important story!

Friday 5 October 2018

An evocative new project led by celebrated Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones reveals “Sydney’s most important story”, opening at the State Library of NSW on 6 October.

Following his landmark Kaldor Public Art Project, barrangal dyara (skin and bones), Sydney Elders: Continuing Aboriginal Stories tells the personal story of Aboriginal Sydney through four of its traditional owners – Uncle Dennis Foley, Aunty Esme Timbery, Uncle Charles ‘Chicka’ Madden and Aunty Sandra Lee.

“Each elder represents different clans that have survived in Sydney,” says Jonathan.

“Together, they tell Sydney’s most important story, its Aboriginal story, and how they have continued the legacy of their ancestors by actively contributing to and creating Sydney.”

Visitors to Sydney Elders: Continuing Aboriginal Stories will meet:

Uncle Charles ‘Chicka’ Madden, from Gadigal country, spent most of his life in construction, working on landmark projects, including Qantas House, Gladesville Bridge, Eastern Suburbs railway line and Carriageworks, and today is an active member of the Redfern community and artist.

Aunty Esme Timbery is a celebrated Bidjigal and Dharawal artist and elder from the Aboriginal mission community of La Perouse. Like her ancestors, she is a renowned
shellwork artist whose work has been widely collected.

Uncle Dennis Foley, a Gai‐mariagal man from northern Sydney, worked in education and has published a book on his country, Repossession of Our Spirit:
Traditional Owners of Northern Sydney.

Aunty Sandra Lee, a Dharug elder from Blacktown, is an active member of the Western Sydney Aboriginal community who is constantly pushing for recognition of Dharug people.

Download full media release (172 KB PDF)