Sydney – Wednesday 28 June, 2017. Tonight, the Sydney Opera House launches Badu Gili, a new experience that will light the building’s famous sails every evening in celebration of the rich history and contemporary vibrancy of Australia’s First Nations culture.
Bennelong Point has been a gathering place for community, ceremony and storytelling for thousands of years. Badu Gili – meaning ‘water light’ in the language of the site’s traditional owners, the Gadigal people – will explore ancient stories in a spectacularly contemporary seven-minute animation, illuminating the eastern Bennelong sail year-round at sunset and 7pm.
The ‘lights on’ moment will be streamed on the Opera House’s Facebook page tonight from 5.45pm (28 June).
Curated by the Opera House’s Head of First Nations Programming, Rhoda Roberts AO, Badu Gili weaves together the work of five eminent First Nations artists from across Australia and the Torres Strait Islands, Jenuarrie (Judith Warrie), Frances Belle Parker, Alick Tipoti and the late Lin Onus and Minnie Pwerle.
Rhoda Roberts said: “Badu Gili uses contemporary artworks and new mediums to celebrate time-honoured stories of seasonal change in flora and fauna. It combines music and images to create a gateway to Australia’s First Nations history and culture for the 8.2 million people who visit the Opera House each year.”
NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said: “The launch of Badu Gili is a significant moment not only to celebrate excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, but to acknowledge and honour the traditional owners of the land on this incredible canvas.”
Enabled by the Opera House, its Idealist donors and the Australia Council for the Arts, Badu Gili builds on Songlines, the monumental visual narrative curated by Rhoda Roberts that projected First Nations stories of the land and sky onto the Opera House sails for the first time as part of 2016’s Vivid Sydney festival.
An important new pillar of the Opera House’s year-round First Nations program – which includes the annual Homeground Festival and ground-breaking Dance Rites competition – Badu Gili has been launched to coincide with the year of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, on the eve of NAIDOC Week and the world premiere of Bangarra Dance Theatre’s new production, Bennelong.
Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM said: “The Opera House is Australia’s best-known meeting place for culture, story-telling and ceremony. In that, we continue a truly ancient tradition. We hope Badu Gili will become an essential Sydney cultural experience for both visitors and the local community that will foster and celebrate a shared sense of belonging for all Australians.
“We are incredibly thankful to our Idealist donors and the Australia Council for the Arts, whose generous support has enabled this important project.”
Badu Gili is a free experience that takes place daily at sunset. It is best viewed from the Opera House Podium at the top of the Monumental Steps.