Nganga toornung-nge dharraga Bunjil
[Looking down from the wings of Bunjil] 2021-21
powder coated steel, net, native grassland plants
Commissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne, 2021-22
Co-presented by Abbotsford Convent and ACCA, as part of ACCA’s long-term research project and exhibition Who’s Afraid of Public Space? 2021-22
The title for the work, Nganga toornung-nge dharraga Bunjil was generously named by Aunty Gail Smith, it is a Wurundjeri phrase roughly translated as ‘looking down from the wings of Bunjil’. The work was developed in consultations and conversations with Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Dave Wandin and the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.
Nganga toornung-nge dharraga Bunjil takes the form of a garden and play equipment, the sculpture offering an aerial perspective from which to view the native grassland garden. It is designed as ‘a grassland learning garden’, and a sculpture intended for play and relaxation for visitors of all ages. As a garden, Nganga toornung-nge dharraga Bunjil was inspired by a conversation with Barkandji researcher and author, Zena Cumpston who said ‘In Victoria, 99.3% of native grassland areas have disappeared’ and reflects practices of reviving colonised landscapes and the resistance of nature to taming and control. Working with local advisers and suppliers, the garden is populated with grasses and aromatic flowers that are endemic to this area.
Many thanks to Uncle Dave Wandin, Aunty Gail Smith, Charley Woolmore, Zena Cumpston and Katherine Horsfall for advising on this project. And to ACCA and Abbotsford Convent; Max Delany, Miriam Kelly, Annika Kristensen, Heven-Lee Osbourne, Shae Nagorcka, Collette Brennan and Anita King.
Photos: Andrew Curtis
Plants in the garden:
Enchylaena tomentosa (Ruby Saltbush)
Disphyma crassifolium (Hot Stuff / Pig Face)
Calocephalus citreus (Lemon Beauty)
Microlaena stipoides (Weeping Grass)
Brachyscome multifida (Cut Leaf Daisy)
Leptorhynchos tenuifolius (Wiry Buttons)
Wahlenbergia capillaris (Blue Bell)
Rytidosperma racemosum (Wallaby Grass)
Chrysocephalum apiculatum (Common Everlasting)
Poa sieberiana (Grey Tussok Grass)
Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass)
Austrostipa elegantissima (Feather Grass)
Rytidosperma caespitosum (Common Wallaby Grass)
Poa labilliardieri – Yan Yean (Tall Tussok Grass)