Jonathan Jones – untitled (transcriptions of country)

In collaboration with women from the Information and Cultural Exchange and Adorned Collective
Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France
24 November 2021 to 20 February 2022

Artspace Sydney in 2022

The work explores colonial contact and theft, and draws on the collections gathered by the French expedition from 1800 to 1803, led  by Captain Nicolas Baudin to what was then known as New Holland.

Yamane Fayed and Jonathan Jones talk about the exhibition

Baudin’s expedition was one of the most extensive scientific expeditions ever undertaken to Australia, resulting in the discovery and collection of more than 2,500 new species. He returned to France with many living plants and animals, as well as a collection of Aboriginal objects.

Jonathan Jones is a member of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi people, and his new exhibition was co-commissioned by Artspace, Sydney, and the Palais de Tokyo. with Federal and NSW Government support.

His work’s underlying concept is the process of mapping or tracing, as well as parallel representation of the traditional and the contemporary.

Three hundred plants preserved from Baudin’s trip at the National Herbarium in Paris have been reproduced as hand-made embroideries by community members in Sydney. The embroideries are the result of a close collaboration with Information + Cultural Exchange (ICE) and with the Adorned Collective; with the support of Yamane Fayed (ICE) and Liam Benson (Adorned Collective). 

Sculptures based on traditional Indigenous materials and significant portraits of Aboriginal people made by the French expeditioners will be displayed on the walls.

A soundscape, inspired by a corroboree transcribed during the expedition, will be broadcast in the space, and a video tells the story of the project and its context.

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Image: Shabnam Mukhi at work. Photo: Yamane Fayed 2021