About the artwork
Gadigal, Acknowledgement Respect was created by renowned Aboriginal artist and founding co-member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists’ Cooperative, Jeffrey Samuels. Boomalli is the longest running Aboriginal owned and run arts organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting NSW Aboriginal language group artists.
ICC Sydney first met Jeffrey in early 2018 at the Boomalli gallery, where he was commissioned to create an artwork to signify to our visitors that they are on Gadigal land. The artwork tells the story of how First Nations People are connected to Sydney Harbour. It depicts various flora, shells and animals of significance around the harbour foreshore including the whale, a totem of the Gadigal clan.
Elements of the work are displayed prominently across main entry points of ICC Sydney – including the Convention Centre, Exhibition Centre and Aware Super Theatre. The whales in the painting are etched, in black vinyl on glass, on the doors. They pay homage to several ancient rock engravings of the giant marine mammal that have been preserved from the original inhabitants of the area. The artwork is also displayed across the Convention Centre’s LED digital screen, above the venue map.
You may also recognise the artwork as the front cover of our 2022-24 Reconciliation Action Plan, in which ICC Sydney details its framework to progress the development of relationships, demonstrate respect and foster opportunities to move closer to Reconciliation and drive engagement with, and opportunities for, Australia’s First Peoples.
Jeffrey Samuels is an Australian Aboriginal contemporary artist. Samuels was a founding co-member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artist’s Cooperative in 1987.
In 1984, Samuels participated in Koori Art ’84 at Artspace, Sydney, one of the seminal exhibitions that marked the emergence of the urban Aboriginal artists’ movement in Australia. He has participated in a number of Boomalli exhibitions over the years including Boomalli Breaking Boundaries (1989), Blackroots: Koori Indigenous Gay and Lesbian Art (1997), and the solo exhibition Stylin-Up (2000). In 2000 he was commissioned to recreate a painting for the Nature Segment of the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. In 2000, Jeffrey designed the State of NSW’s official logo the “Waratah”.
In 2018, Jeffrey exhibited at Boomalli in “Black Fellas Dreaming” and “LUSCIOUS ALL SORTS”: LOVE WON, a Mardi Gras Exhibition.
His work is held in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Flinders University, the Australian Museum and the National Museum of Australia.
Text credit: Poll, Matt. http://www.daao.org.au/bio/jeffreysamuels/biography/
“I created this painting design “Gadigal, Acknowledgement Respect” to acknowledge and honour the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and to pay my respects to their Elders past and present.
The central image is the Cadigal tree that was utilised by the Gadigal people for making spears shafts and obtaining resin to attach spear points to their spear shafts.
In the painting are just a few animals and plants and shells that would have been in abundance in the Darling Harbour location, in the harbour waters, in the sea in Gadigal Country which was recorded in journals by the English.”