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Sydney is a young city. It stands on some of the oldest occupied Country in the world: Gadi. Many people have been welcomed to country by Gadigal Elders, but know little about Gadigal people, history, culture or their ongoing legacy. This exhibition was a First Nations-led response to the colonial impact and a place to share custodial stories.

Elders, artisans and community shared knowledge and stories. Australian Museum Creative Producer (First Nations) Laura McBride said


The most rewarding and accurate way to learn about another culture is from the people themselves. Gadi is a new opportunity to immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture in an exhibition, designed and led by Aboriginal people.

The exhibition’s core theme was the endurance of culture. Featuring rare objects from Gadi, new cultural material was acquired for permanent collection including a Sydney Shield by Uncle Chicka Madden and a Gadigal fishing song by his granddaughter Lille Madde. Illustrating the survival of people and ongoing cultural practices within the Sydney region, the most highly impacted by colonisation. Australian Museum stands on the site of gadigal, it is befitting that we acknowledge Aboriginal culture and tell new and engaged narratives on this site.

Awards

  • Winner of the IMAGinE ‘Exhibition Projects – Museums’ award.
  • Winner of the Australian Museums and Gallery’s Association (AMaGA), Temporary Exhibition, Level 2 award.

  • GADI exhibition documentation
    The journey through the exhibition began with the word GADI powerfully displayed in yellow on a red wall, surrounded by black silhouettes of the gadi (grass trees), in homage to the emblematic colours of the Aboriginal flag. Image: Abram Powell
    © Australian Museum
  • GADI exhibition documentation
    The centre piece in the exhibition was a display from archaeological digs, some very close to the museum, and was curated by an emerging Aboriginal archaeologist. The displays clearly expressed the humanity of their makers. Image: Abram Powell
    © Australian Museum
  • GADI exhibition documentation
    Aboriginal Sydney is made up of 29 clans, each being spiritually related to a specific track of land for which they are custodians. Today, these clans are collectively referred to as the Eora Nation. Image: Abram Powell
    © Australian Museum
  • GADI Launch
    Laura McBride at the launch of the Weave Festival of First Nations & Pacific Culture in the GADI exhibition March 2018. The GADI exhibition was co curated with Aboriginal community and explored the land of the Gadigal people, the area now known as the Sydney basin. Image: Barbara McGrady
    © Barbara McGrady
  • WEAVE - GADI Launch 2018
    Launch of the Weave Festival of First Nations & Pacific Culture in the GADI exhibition March 2018. The GADI exhibition was co curated with Aboriginal community and explored the land of the gadigal people, the area now known as the Sydney basin. Image: Barbara McGrady
    © Barbara McGrady
  • GADI exhibition documentation
    A sculptural installation of a nawi (canoe) dedicated to Sydney’s mahn (fisherwomen) featured in the exhibition. Image: Abram Powell
    © Australian Museum
  • GADI Exhibition documentation
    Documentation of the GADI exhibition opened in March 2018 as part of the Weave - Festival of Culture program. GADI explores the culture of the gadigal people of the Eora nation in the Sydney basin. The highlight of the exhibit was the on-site weaving of a grass nawi (canoe). The exhibition was curated in consultation with gadigal community. Image: Abram Powell
    © Australian Museum