Aurora Eora: Alice Chance and Joan Ross

Aurora Eora

Aurora Eora brings the stories of Barangaroo to life through song and art.  Emerging composer Alice Chance has created six original songs for Gondwana Choirs, each song representing a moment in Barangaroo’s rich and diverse history.  To animate these compositions, Art Month in collaboration with the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and Lendlease has curated a Barangaroo site-wide exhibition of artworks by acclaimed contemporary artists: Tony Albert, Karen Black, Reko Rennie, Joan Ross and Gemma Smith.

Photo: Composer from Gondwana Choirs, Alice Chance with Artist Joan Ross in front of her artwork, on display at Nawi Cove, Barangaroo.


This work by Joan Ross uses the backdrop of early Australian colonial painter Joseph Fowles. In this 1840’s watercolour of Millers Point, Ross reinterprets the painting, embracing a number of eras and narratives, mixing contemporary aesthetics with the nineteenth century colonial’s view, in order to question our relationship to both. A group of 1840’s woman and children are joined by the infamous “Millers Mob” of the early 1900’s, a gang of children who ran amok in the streets of Millers Point/Barangaroo and most importantly, Aboriginal people, who occupied this land before colonisation.

Millers Point Mob
Music by Alice Chance
Text as recalled by Judy Taylor
Conductor: Amandine Petit
Piano: Sally Whitwell

All You Can Eat Seafood Buffet, 2017
Artist: Joan Ross
Courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid Gallery​

The below film is an animated interpretation of the original art work, which can be seen at Nawi Cove.


Karen Black’s painting practice engages with global social, economic and political issues. Referencing architecture, culture and history, the work tells the human stories and tragedies within these environments.

For many thousands of years the site of Barangaroo was the home of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional owners of the land.

By the mid-1820s a wharf was built at Walsh Bay by colonial settlers.

In the 1930s it was colloquially known as The Hungry Mile, when the wharves were a source of casual employment during the Great Depression era. This was a decade haunted by mass poverty, violent extremism and history’s bloodiest conflict, the Second World War, involving all the great powers of the world.

Unearthing the past while considering the present, Black has taken a closer look at imagery from existing paintings and collaged them to form a new contemporary consciousness - one that considers all of our history, in the hope we may learn from the past.

The Hungry Mile
Music and text by Alice Chance
Conductor: Sam Allchurch
Piano: Jem Harding

Skimming the Water, 2017
Artist: Karen Black
Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan+ Strumpf

The below film is an animated interpretation of the original art work, which can be seen at Exchange Place.


Reko Rennie is an interdisciplinary artist who explores his Aboriginal identity through contemporary media. Rennie's practice provokes discussion surrounding Indigenous culture in contemporary urban environments. Largely autobiographical, his commanding works combine the iconography of his Kamilaroi heritage, merging traditional diamond-shaped designs, hand-drawn symbols and repetitive patterning to subvert romantic ideologies of Aboriginal identity. In this work, Rennie has tessellated the male Kamilaroi diamond symbol - a family crest of sorts - to make an emblematic statement about sovereignty. The bright pop-inspired colour references Rennie’s affinity to graffiti and hip-hop culture from his youth.

Rennie’s work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Koorie Heritage Trust, Artbank and City of Yarra collections as well as the New Contemporary Art Museum in Jiangsu, China.

You can view his work at Nawi Cove.

Nya Wali Banga
Music by Matthew Doyle and Alice Chance
English text by Alice Chance
Translated into Gadigal Language by Matthew Doyle
Conductor: Elizabeth Vierboom
Piano: Sally Whitwell
Didgeridoo: Matthew Doyle

Home Sweet Home, 2013
Artist: Reko Rennie
Courtesy of the artist and Blackartprojects

Reko Rennie’s video work Home Sweet Home speaks to his upbringing, his identity, and his place in the much larger story of Aboriginal Australia as he travels through Kamilaroi country in New South Wales.


My name is Tony Albert and I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional owners of the land upon which we stand today.

As a contemporary artist and proud Aboriginal man, I am passionate about establishing historical truth for future generations and to restore a voice to those who have been silenced throughout history.

My work is often inspired by my family and community, it speaks much more broadly about the human condition. Similarly, this work embodies universal ideas of resilience, history, spirit and legacy, inspired by a local figure Barangaroo.  Women, including Barangaroo, dedicated their lives to fishing,

sustaining and nourishing their family and community with the food they expertly caught through diving and canoeing.  As the wife of Bennelong, and in light of her own senior status, Barangaroo was a central figure in the early colonisation of Sydney’s harbour.

This work not only pays homage to this incredible historical figure, who has gone largely unrecognised, but also to all Eora women whose custodianship of Sydney’s waterways has ensured it remains one of the most beautiful harbours in the world today.

Barangaroo and Bennelong
Music and text by Alice Chance
Conductor: Amandine Petit
Piano: Sally Whitwell 

Studies of Barangaroo, 2017
Artist: Tony Albert
Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan+ Strumpf

The below film is an animated interpretation of the original art work, which can be seen at both Waterman’s Cove and Nawi Cove.

Adaptable #4, 2008

Adaptable #4 2008 by Gemma Smith is a sculpture made from aircraft plywood painted with acrylic polymer and is hinged together with polyester fabric. The sculpture is like a moving painting, and can be reconfigured by hand to sit in an infinite number of positions. This work is an animation of still photographs of the sculpture. 124 different positions are included here. 

Gemma Smith lives and works in Sydney. 

Eye of the Soundstorm
Music and text by Alice Chance
Conductor: Owen Elsley
Piano: Sally Whitwell

Skimming the Water, 2017
Artist: Gemma Smith
Courtesy of the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery​

This film is created specifically as a digital art work.

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