Badu Gili: Wonder Women Lighting of the Sails
Daily from sunset, 7pm, 7.30pm and 8pm*
Badu Gili - meaning 'water light' in the language of the traditional owners of Bennelong Point, the Gadigal people - is a free daily experience that explores First Nations stories in a spectacular six-minute projection on the Opera House’s eastern Bennelong sails.
Watch the sails illuminate with Badu Gili: Wonder Women, a new projection celebrating the work and stories of six female First Nations artists, created in collaboration between the Opera House and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, to mark the Gallery’s 150th anniversary.
Screenings from sunset, 7pm, 7.30pm and 8pm*
View scheduled daily times below.
*Timings are subject to change with the seasons and Forecourt events. Sails lighting will not run on 23-24 of May, and will only run at Sunset from 27 May - 17 June due to Vivid Sydney events on the Forecourt.
|May 2023||Lighting 1||Lighting 2||Lighting 3||Lighting 4|
|June 2023||Lighting 1||Lighting 2||Lighting 3||Lighting 4|
Badu Gili: Wonder Women is a free event for everyone to enjoy. It is the first year-round sails lighting experience to be launched by the Opera House.
Audio-described version available
Find out more information about accessibility at Sydney Opera House
Projection runs for approximately 6 minutes.
Event duration is a guide only and may be subject to change.
Suitable for all ages.
Young people under the age of 15 must be accompanied at all times.
Best viewed from the top of the Monumental Steps.
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Tell us about your visit
Celebrating First Nations culture
A celebration of the rich history and contemporary vibrancy of Australia’s First Nations culture, Badu Gili continues the traditions of Bennelong Point, formerly known as Tubowgule ('where the knowledge waters meet'), a gathering place for community, ceremony and storytelling for thousands of years.
Badu Gili: Wonder Women, curated by Art Gallery of New South Wales Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Coby Edgar, is a creative collaboration between the Opera House and the Art Gallery of New South Wales to mark the Gallery’s 150th anniversary. The vibrant new animation of artworks weaves together the works and stories of six female First Nations artists from across Australia. Find out more about the artists below.
An important pillar of the Opera House’s year-round First Nations program, Badu Gili is an essential Sydney cultural experience for both visitors and the local community that aims to foster and celebrate a shared sense of belonging for all Australians.
View the Sydney Opera House Reconciliation Action Plan
Badu Gili: Wonder Women is proudly funded by the NSW Government through the Culture Up Late initiative, which is part of the Summer in the City program
Badu Gili has been enabled by the Opera House, its Idealist donors and the Australia Council for the Arts since 2017
Proudly funded by the NSW Government and curated by the Art Gallery of NSW
Badu Gili LIVE
Gather from sunset for a free outdoor event that will transform the Opera House’s Monumental Steps into a festival that celebrates First Nations music, art and food.
Meet the artists
Community: Ballarat, South-east region
Language group: Wwathawurru, South-east region
Born in 1944 in Warrnambool, Victoria, Marlene Gilson is recognised for her naïve-style paintings that question the colonial grasp on the past by reclaiming and recontextualising the representation of historical events. She typically explores Aboriginal stories relating to her Wadawurrung lands and stories from the Victorian goldfields. Gilson is descended from King Billy, a leader from Ballarat who was alive during the Eureka Stockade. Bunjil, the eagle, and Waa, the crow, are present in all of Gilson’s works.
'Ballarat, my country' 2019
Synthetic polymer paint on linen, 120 x 150 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Mollie Gowing Acquisition fund for Contemporary Aboriginal art 2020
© Marlene Gilson
Photo: AGNSW, Diana Panuccio
Community: Ntaria (Hermannsburg), Central Desert region
Language group: Western Arrarnta, Central Desert region
Judith Inkamala is the chairperson and a senior member of Hermannsburg Potters Aboriginal Corporation, having joined the founding group of artists in 1993. Inkamala is an inspiring and respected leader in her community of Ntaria (Hermannsburg) in the Northern Territory, recognised for her unwavering dedication and commitment to intergenerational sharing of cultural and ceramic knowledge. In her works, Inkamala depicts her lived histories and distinct Western Arranta Country. Like many Western Arrarnta artists, Inkamala’s painting style is informed by the watercolours of Albert Namatjira and the work of his peers at Ntaria.
'Ura Kngarra Mpintjama (A big fire is coming)' 2020
Terracotta and underglazes, 44 x 31 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased with funds provided by the Mollie Douglas Bequest Fund 2020
© Judith Inkamala
Photo: AGNSW, Felicity Jenkins
Community: Titjikala, Central Desert region
Language group: Luritja, Central Desert region
Sally M Nangala Mulda was born in 1957 at Titjikala, south of Mparntwe (Alice Springs), to parents from the Erldunda and Aputula regions. She went to school at Amoonguna. After losing the use of her left arm in a childhood accident, Mulda later faced the challenge of losing her sight in one eye. She married and had her only child as a young woman, but lost both her husband and her baby daughter. Widowed and without children, she lived with friends and extended family in Mparntwe for many years. Having never painted before joining Tangentyere Artists in 2008, from the outset Mulda sought to record the interactions that constitute life for so many Aboriginal people today.
Sally M. Nangala Mulda
'Tail get cold...' 2018
Synthetic polymer paint on linen, 45 x 90 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Mollie Gowing Acquisition fund for Contemporary Aboriginal art 2019
© Sally M Nangala Mulda
Photo: AGNSW, Diana Panuccio
Community: Mparntwe (Alice Springs), Central Desert region
Language group: Western Arrernte, Central Desert region
Marlene Rubuntja is an Arrernte woman, born in 1961 in Mparntwe (Alice Springs). She lives and works on the Yarrenyty Arltere Town Camp. Rubuntja is an artist whose practice is embedded deeply in humour, story, generosity and place. With a profound insight into the complex issues of life in Central Australia, she has found a way, through her art, to celebrate the beauty, question the injustices, and showcase the unique resilient spirit of Mparntwe. As a senior artist at Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, Rubuntja works with soft sculpture, ink on paper, film and storytelling.
'Woman with Dilly Bags and Dilly Bag hat' 2019
Mixed media, plastic, woolen blankets dyed with bush plants, cotton, wool, hessian, feathers, 26 x 31 x 34 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors Group 2019
© Marlene Rubuntja
Photo: AGNSW, Felicity Jenkins
Community: Sydney, South-east region
Language group: Kamilaroi, Northern Riverine region
Aunty Elaine Russell was born in 1941 at Tingha, New South Wales, and spent her early years at La Perouse in Sydney. Her family then moved to the Murrin Bridge mission, on the Lachlan River, near Lake Cargelligo, New South Wales. Russell began her formal artistic career in 1993, at the age of 52, when she enrolled in the Certificate of Visual Arts course at the Eora Centre TAFE (Technical and Further Education) in Redfern, Sydney. Russell’s illustrative paintings of mission life, such as attending school and routine inspection days, are animated in her bold and colourful style.
Elaine passed away in 2017, but her legacy and stories remain integral to the narrative of Aboriginal people’s experiences in New South Wales.
'Lachlan River, our childhood dreams' 1994
Synthetic polymer paint on cardboard, 73.2 x 99.9 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased with funds provided by the Australian Collection Benefactors Program 1995
© Estate of Elaine Russell
Photo: AGNSW, Christopher Snee
Community: Indulkana, Southern Desert region
Language group: Yankunytjatjara, Southern Desert region
Kaylene Whiskey lives in Indulkana Community on the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the remote north-west of South Australia and works at Iwantja Arts. Her paintings celebrate heroic women, pop culture idols and traditional Aṉangu culture, reflecting the blended reality that is contemporary life in a remote Indigenous community of Central Australia. Her practice links the culture of her community’s elders with the experience of the younger generation who have grown up with contemporary influences.
'Dolly visits Indulkana' 2020
Acrylic on linen with plastic jewels, 168 x 198.5 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors Group 2020
© Kaylene Whiskey
Photo: AGNSW, Mim Stirling
Meet curator Coby Edgar
Curator Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of NSW
Coby Edgar is a Larrakia, English, Filipino woman from Darwin. Now based in Sydney, Coby is curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Since joining the Gallery in 2016, Coby curated Joy, which brought together works by artists from Central Australia and celebrated the importance and joy of making art; she worked on the Gallery’s online social project, Together in Art; and contributed ‘Sentient portraits’ to the Gallery’s recent Archie Plus project (2020-21), whereby the voices of artists could be heard alongside their works. In 2015, she was Assistant Curator of TARNANTHI Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
Where to eat & drink before and after Badu Gili
Satisfy your hunger at one of the many restaurants and bars here at the Opera House. Start your evening at Bennelong Restaurant enjoying their Badu Gili mocktail and meal from their à la carte menu.
The Sydney Opera House Car Park, operated by Wilson Parking, is open and available to use. Wilson Parking offer discounted parking if you book ahead. Please see their website for details.
Please check the Transport NSW website for the latest advice and information on travel and COVID-19 safety measures. You can catch public transport (bus, train, ferry) to Circular Quay and enjoy a six min walk to the Opera House.
The health and wellbeing of everyone attending the Opera House is our top priority. We’re committed to making your experience safe, comfortable and enjoyable, with a number of measures in place including regular cleaning of high-touch areas, air conditioning systems that maximise ventilation, and hand sanitiser stations positioned in all paths of travel. We encourage you to wear a mask in indoor settings or when physical distancing can’t be maintained, and please stay home if you feel unwell. If you need to discuss your ticketing or booking options, contact our Box Office team on 02 9250 7777.
Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of everyone on site, and we are closely following NSW Health guidelines and advice. The Sydney Opera House is registered as a COVID Safe business with the NSW Government. For detailed information about our COVID-19 safety measures and what’s required of you when visiting, please see our plan your visit page.
As you move around the Opera House, practise physical distancing (1.5 metres whenever possible) and follow the guidance provided by our staff and signage.
For detailed information about our COVID-19 safety measures and what’s required of you, please see our plan your visit page.
The Sydney Opera House no longer requires patrons to show that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Contact information is required when making a booking with us and upon arrival at the Opera House, as set out in our General Terms and Conditions for Tickets and Attendance at Events and our Customer Privacy Statement.
As the ticket purchaser, you are responsible for recording the contact details of your guests. Contact information will only be used for the purposes of contact tracing, if required, and will be deleted at least 28 days after your event.
Frequently asked questions
No. When you arrive at the Opera House, make your way up the Monumental Steps to the Podium where you will enjoy the best view of the sunset projection.
Yes – we encourage everyone to capture this special experience. If you post on social media, please tag #BaduGili or #BaduGiliWonderWomen to share your photos or video with us.
It’s a great idea to arrive early, grab a drink and soak up the view.
Please note sunset varies each day so be sure to check sunset times on the day.
Badu Gili is an outdoor event, during winter we recommend dressing warmly.
There will be a pop-up bar at Badu Gili LIVE or you can enjoy one of the many restaurants and bars here at the Opera House. Our restaurants offer everything from casual snacks to award-winning fine dining. Find what you’re after, see our restaurants.
Please check with our staff when you arrive.
The Opera House is currently undertaking critical maintenance works to address water leakage issues affecting the Lower Concourse. These necessary works are required to mitigate long-term water damage to the Opera House building and its structure. These works will not impact your visit, it's business as usual!
A decision will be made at 3pm on the day whether or not the event will go ahead. If the event is cancelled due to inclement weather, a message will be added to the website to inform patrons of the cancellation. In the event of rain during a performance, we recommend you bring a small umbrella or raincoat.
Plan your visit
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