State Library galleries reopen with new exhibition

The State Library of NSW's galleries reopened today with its long-awaited exhibition, Eight Days in Kamay - an online version opened in May following the Library’s closure due to COVID-19.

The exhibition marks the 250th anniversary of Cook and the Endeavour’s short stay in Kamay (Botany Bay) and explores what those fateful eight days looked like through the eyes of the Gweagal people of Kamay, with knowledge gained through community consultations in La Perouse and by senior Gweagal knowledge holder Shayne Williams. 

It brings together a selection of sketches and samples collected by Sydney Parkinson, Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander of this newly ‘discovered’ natural world contextualised by Gweagal knowledge, and challenges visitors to view the journals of Banks, Cook and other Endeavour crew members from a different lens. 

Visitors to the exhibition will witness the extraordinary demonstration of April 1970 which saw Aboriginal leaders and activists from across Australia protest against the Cook bi-centenary celebrations at Kurnell, attended by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Princess Anne. 

The continuing impact of the events of those eight days in 1770 are explored through contemporary artwork by Vincent Namatjira, Jason Wing, Michael Cook, Karla Dickens and Daniel Boyd.

From today, people can also visit the Paintings from the Collection exhibition and be the first to see our new Herbert Badham painting. The galleries in the eastern wing of the Mitchell building will reopen with the popular World Press Photo Exhibition on 15 August.