60 portraits of First Nations women by Brenda L Croft

Brenda L Croft: Naabami (thou shall/will see): Barangaroo (army of me), unveiled along the Barangaroo Waterfront, Sydney. Photograph: Daniel Boud
Brenda L Croft: Naabami (thou shall/will see): Barangaroo (army of me), unveiled along the Barangaroo Waterfront, Sydney. Photograph: Daniel Boud
Monday 16 January 2023

Gurindji/Malngin/Mudburra artist Brenda L Croft launches her major outdoor public artwork along the Barangaroo waterfront; Naabami (thou shall/will see): Barangaroo (army of me) presents sixty large-scale photographic portraits of contemporary First Nations women and girls photographed in Canberra and Sydney from 2019 to 2022. Presented as part of Sydney Festival 2023, the installation will be on display until 29 January.

Some photographs include women and girls captured by Croft spanning three decades with several generations of families portrayed. Participants who were first photographed as children are now represented as strong young women; sisters, aunties, mothers, and grandmothers.

Naabami (thou will/shall see): Barangaroo (army of me) honours Barangaroo (c.1750–1791), a steadfast First Nations woman renowned for her determination as to how she would live and die on her sovereign homelands. Barangaroo’s role as a cultural negotiator at the time of first colonial contact makes her as relevant today as over two centuries ago. She literally and metaphorically stood her ground in a time of immense upheaval and overwhelming change for the Eora and surrounding clans. Today, the faces within Naabami (thou shall/will see): Barangaroo (army of me) are Barangaroo’s avatars; her sovereign soldiers.

“First Nations ancestor women such as Barangaroo and those who followed have inspired, guided and mentored me throughout my life. I stand on the shoulders of giants. Marntaj,” says Croft.

The large-scale portraits are digitally printed on metal, referencing the wet plate collodion process in the original tin types. Installed in sandstone blocks cast-off from colonial buildings, originally hewn from traditional lands, these double-sided sentinels depict First Nations women and girls, determined of stance and firm in their cultural knowledge. 

In addition to the exhibition at Barangaroo, the images will also be exhibited at the Old Government House, Parramatta, for the Sydney Festival, and The National 4 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. 2023.

Read more at sydneyfestival.org.au.

Professor Brenda L Croft is a Professor in Indigenous Art History & Curatorship at the Australian National University School of Art & Design.

Text courtesy: https://www.art-almanac.com.au/brenda-l-croft-publick-artwork-barangaroo...

Updated:  16 January 2023/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications