Patyegarang Place public art

Patyegarang Place: Marrickville Library and community spaces

Site 1: Navigating Culture, the story of Patyegarang by Plummer and Smith.

The artwork explores overlapping and shared knowledge systems of linguistics and astrological observations between Aboriginal and European cultures. The story of Patyegarang sharing culture and language with Lt William Dawes provides the context and backdrop.

The artwork is constructed of softly polished laser cut stainless steel and references star maps and the terms used by the Eora people to describe the night sky, bringing together the shared knowledge systems of astronomy and language.

Through outdoor workshops at the site, members of the local aboriginal community created the star map using fire to burn holes in to a paper template. This template was then translated to digital form for laser cutting.

Each star is back lit every night.

About the creators

Plummer and Smith – is a design company consisting of artist Belinda Smith and landscape architect Dan Plummer.

For this project they partnered with Professor Jakelin Troy, a Ngarigu woman and Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research within the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Strategy and Services at the University of Sydney, Nardi Simpson, a musician, storyteller and educator and Joel Davison, a Gadigal man and language and culture educator.

Site 2. Brickyards Night School by Ralf Kempken

The Brickyards Night School artwork takes its inspiration from the old hospital’s original purpose of servicing workers from the old brick yards of the late 19th century.

During the 1870s, children as young as six were removed from schools by their brick worker families to work as ‘pugger-ups’ at Marrickville Brickyards.

Historical records show that Mr Richard Guille, Headmaster of a school in St Peters, became concerned that children working at the brickyards were not getting an education. He in turn started a night school so that the children could learn to read and write and have a chance to move beyond the brickyards in their adult life.

The central imagery of children’s eyes, taken from contemporary portraiture, represents differing racial and ethnic groups in Marrickville, commenting on Australia's mostly successful history of immigration and multiculturalism and how this has and still is changing Sydney's suburbs.

About the creator

Ralf Kempken is a full time professional artist, multi award-winning stencil artist and sculptural artist with numerous large scale public art work installations.

He has been commissioned for large sale works by Dimmy’s Development, Richmond Railway Lone, Melbourne Zoo and Regional Rail Link.

Site 3. Kangaroo by Joanna Rhodes

The kangaroo welcomes children to climb it as it sits in Kangaroo Grounds, with her head turned, looking toward the past or perhaps the future, or just observing the people close by.

The kangaroo represents much more in Marrickville than just Australia’s favourite marsupial. It’s a reflection on the site’s history as Kangaroo Grounds and its continual evolution from the long relationship with the Gadigal people, early settlement farming, through emigration and industry, to a thriving and diverse creative community who pride themselves on acceptance and tolerance.

About the creator

Joanna Rhodes is a sculptor based in Victoria. She has been working as a sculptor for over ten years and is known for her large-scale animals. She won the 2012 Montalto Family Choice Award and the People's Choice Award at the Montalto sculpture prize in Victoria.

Patyegarang Place public art

Kangaroo by Joanna Rhodes

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Page last updated: 15 Nov 2021