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Barangaroo's New Large-Scale Video Installation Is a Modern Reimagining of Welcome to Country

The ten-minute audiovisual work 'Wellama' runs continuously from 8am–8pm, every day.
By Marissa Ciampi
June 17, 2019
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Barangaroo's New Large-Scale Video Installation Is a Modern Reimagining of Welcome to Country

The ten-minute audiovisual work 'Wellama' runs continuously from 8am–8pm, every day.
By Marissa Ciampi
June 17, 2019
  shares

Next time you walk through Barangaroo Reserve in Sydney's inner city, you'll be Welcomed to Country — but not in the traditional way. A large-scale video installation that honours and reimagines the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ceremony has popped up at the entrance to the Cutaway.

In honour of its namesake Kamaraygal heroine, Barangaroo has commissioned and unveiled the giant audiovisual piece. Opened on May 30, Wellama (meaning "to come back") was created by Walbanga and Wadi Wadi artist Alison Page and director Nik Lachajczak. It celebrates the rich history of the Eora Nation and its significant cultural rituals, which date back thousands of years.

The film's narrative follows Barangaroo and a young Eora fisherwoman, as the former guides the latter through womanhood. It takes place both in the past and in modern day Sydney, during which Barangaroo teaches traditional medicinal practices to the young woman, recognising the depth of knowledge and commitment to land that is ever present among Aboriginal cultures.

The work was inspired by the early paintings by Eora People in Sydney Harbour, which are an important cultural reference for the local Indigenous Australian communities of today.

Anna Kucera

"It's important to remember that the Sydney foreshore was ground zero for the devastation of our culture," says Page in a statement. "Therefore, I think it's up to us to also make it ground zero for the healing of culture. The artwork is a reclamation of that culture and a reflection of the strengthening of our identity and the cultural revival we are seeing across Australia."

The ten-minute video will remain on a continuous loop — an acknowledgement of the "unbroken and infinite" nature of time — so you can stop by anytime from 8am–8pm daily. But Wellama has only been commissioned through May 2020, so don't wait on it for too long.

Wellama is screening until May 30, 2020 at the Barangaroo Reserve. It is free to watch, with no bookings required. For more information, visit the website.

Images: Anna Kucera

Published on June 17, 2019 by Marissa Ciampi

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