To get you acquainted with our public art collection, City Art, we’re running a series of short interviews with Sydney’s cultural thought leaders. We want to know about their favourite artwork from the collection and how they see their work contributing to the city’s cultural landscape.
Curator and writer Hetti Perkins was kind enough to offer some words. Since 2010, Hetti has been guiding us in the development of The Eora Journey, a project that celebrates the living culture of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities at key sites in the city. Hetti oversees seven major public art projects created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. It aims to acknowledge and make visible the history and contribution of the Aboriginal community to specific places in the city. So far, we have launched 3 of the 7 art projects to take place over 10 years.
What is your favourite public artwork and why?
I have many favourites in the City Art collection for many different reasons. Fiona Hall’s Folly for Mrs Macquarie is a perfect integration of the site with its history, rendered within a contemporary conceptual frame that has all the artisan qualities of her work. It’s a witty and whimsical throwback to the many follies of earlier times. Its unrivalled location and structure adds to its contemplative appeal. Take a closer look and the view of Australia’s colonial history is not pretty.
What does curatorship mean to you?
Curatorship means making space in the world for artists, however big or small, or in whatever dimension that space may be.
What are your views on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public art in Sydney?
There should be much more of it! The City’s Sustainable Sydney consultation showed overwhelming support for greater recognition of Aboriginal culture in the public realm. This led to the Eora Journey project – the people’s journey. The artworks commissioned under this plan, including YININMADYEMI Thou Didst Let Fall in Hyde Park, continue an ancient tradition of creating art in public places. Sydney is the home of one of the largest galleries of rock art in the world and this is something that all Sydneysiders can be proud of and work together to conserve and respect.
You can also find out about Carriageworks’ Lisa Havilah’s favourite public artwork.