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Reconciliation Place - 9 Artworks
by National Capital Authority



Reconciliation Place, a promenade which stretches between the High Court of Australia and the National Library of Australia, has a central mound and artworks focusing on themes and events aimed at fostering Reconciliation of all Australians. Over two years, an additional nine, strategically sited and designed artworks have been added to this sensitive, high profile, public art precinct. The new artworks have involved appreciable consultation with Indigenous families, artists, communities and appointed representatives throughout project delivery. Notably, the creative, collaborative and consultative process of developing the artworks has helped to deepen the connection of this place with members of the arts and broader/remote Indigenous communities. Matilda House, a leader of the local Ngambri-Ngunnawal people, has commented that Reconciliation Place's authenticity is growing, because Indigenous artists feel honoured to be chosen for the project. The Commonwealth Government's Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination has been a close partner throughout the project. Reconciliation Place artworks engender an evolving iconic cultural interpretation, expression and exploration. Consequently, urban design objectives for collective and individual siting of the works were considered in the context of a fluid, and at times unexpected, curatorial program. New curatorial themes and interpretive experiences were strategically located relative to respective existing artworks and other relevant precinct contextual features. Additionally, seamless integration with the seven existing artworks was supported by maintaining the original design team's uniform height datum and unique pavement treatment. The diversity of artworks added to Reconciliation Place consciously reflect the notion

of Reconciliation as an unfolding process. A process which develops over time in a dynamic and inter-active way. Thus, opportunity for interactive experiences has intentionally been developed via a broad and evolving mix of artwork materials, evocative expression and broadening demographic appeal/accessibility. Such endeavours further clarify and enrich the visitor’s experience of place. Judy Watson’s fire and water features a series of sculptural elements, pavement treatments and plantings which create a sensory and evocative journey into Reconciliation Place’s western promenade. A central bower features custom formed weathered steel forms bending in towards each other in a gesture of Reconciliation. The artwork also incorporates an integrated sound and mist feature. Vic McGrath’s Methalu Tharri (smooth sailing) is inspired by the sails and mast of a traditional Torres Strait canoe that has landed on a beach. Rich in cultural references to the Torres Strait, this work incorporates an intricate water feature. Thanakupi’s Kwi’ith, Man and Woman Yam explores the simple yet powerful themes which are pivotal to the notion of Reconciliation – communication, sharing and harmony. The Women Artwork presents a biographical sketch of Dr Faith Bandler, Lady Jessie Street and Dr Evelyn Scott. This artwork incorporates an integrated sound feature. Five Stone Artworks celebrate the resilience and achievements of eminent Indigenous Australians who have made personal, selfless contributions to Reconciliation. Each artwork features an inspirational quotation about Reconciliation as well as an illustrative carving linked with the person quoted. The unique, 350-400 million year old, metamorphic sandstone boulders with striking iron deposits were sourced from near Wilcannia, NSW.

National Capital Authority
6272 2918
Project Team
Project architect: Rob Tindal
Project architect: Rob Tindal
Structural consultant: Advanced Structural Designs
Electrical consultant: WEBB AUSTRALIA
Hydraulic consultant: Garry Wenck
Quantity consultant: Donald Cant Watts Corke
Director: Andrew Smith
Director: Andrew Smith
Design team for fire and water; Methalu Tharri; Kwi'ith: Positive Solutions
Artist: Judy Watson; Aboriginal Cultural Advisor: Matilda House; Sound Design: Michael Hewes: fire and water Artwork
Design and Construct contractor for fire and water; Methalu Tharri; Kwi'ith: Urban Art Projects
Site works contractor for fire and water; Methalu Tharri; Kwi'ith: Pyramid Corporation
Stone Artworks stonemasons - Tim Hodge and Malcolm Johnson: Rocksolid Stonemasonry
Photographer: Rob Tindal
Photographer: Rob Tindal

Photographs by Rob Tindal & Rob Tindal, text by National Capital Authority

Link directly to this award entry: is the website of The Royal Australian Institute of Architects