A continuing cultural fishing custom practiced by Aboriginal people in Kamay (Botany Bay) for thousands of years is being celebrated on the walls of a new Randwick Council community sports centre and home for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Maroubra set to open in the coming days.
Shimmer is the work of Aboriginal artists Carmen Glynn-Braun and Dennis Golding featuring painted motifs, decals and sculptured bronze.
Although differing in medium, the artworks carry the joint title Shimmer and depict local wildlife such as stingrays, barrow hawks and the annual winter mullet run that sustained Aboriginal people for generations.
“We titled all the works Shimmer because they’re all interconnected in how they reflect light, like the sun off the water,” Carmen said.
The placement of the golden artworks on the exterior of the building was also intentional. As Carmen explained, “then the sun interacts with it twice a day, as it would on top of the water with the mullet flowing through the water below.”
Like shimmering treasures to be discovered, the golden-hued artworks wrap around the building’s exterior and float through to the interior, ready to catch the light of the sun and the eye of visitors.
“Throughout the artworks we’ve looked at the coastline to be a very important part of storytelling. You know, really looking at the country from a top view of where Aboriginal people have travelled across these different areas of the coastline,” shared Dennis.
Local knowledge holder Uncle Steve Russell also played an integral role in the creation of Shimmer. As an important part of their artistic practice, when creating new pieces, Carmen and Dennis explained the pair always make efforts to consult with local elders from the place where their artwork will be installed or exhibited.
Randwick Mayor Dylan Parker said the artworks help connect a new building to Country and provides an intergenerational story-telling legacy.
“This artwork recognises and pays respects to the traditional owners of this land and will give every visitor the opportunity to engage with our area’s unique and vibrant Aboriginal culture,” Randwick Mayor Dylan Parker said.
“The Heffron Centre is set to be a space for the whole community. Sport has always united communities – particularly in Randwick City – bringing together people of all ages and skill level.
“We are quite fortunate to able to deliver for our community a high-quality community sports and gymnastics centre within the same building as the new home for the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
“This new home for sport provides countless opportunities to work cooperatively to deliver a range of cultural and social benefits for our community through sport.”
The Heffron Centre is a Randwick City Council facility featuring a community indoor sports centre, dedicated gymnastics centre and South Sydney Rabbitohs community and high-performance centre.
The project is a shared vision between Randwick Council, its key project partner the South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club (Rabbitohs), the NSW State Government (through the Office of Sport) and the Australian Government.
The Heffron Centre is set to open by the end of April 2023 with official community celebrations planned for 1 July 2023.