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ANTaR’s iconic ‘Sea of Hands’ opens at Barangaroo for National Reconciliation Week

ANTaR’s iconic ‘Sea of Hands’ opens at Barangaroo for National Reconciliation Week

ANTaR, a national organisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reconciliation and rights, has partnered with the Barangaroo Delivery Authority to open its interactive symbol of reconciliation, the Sea of Hands installation, at Barangaroo Reserve for National Reconciliation Week 2016.

More than 20,000 hands are expected to be planted in the evolving installation at Barangaroo between 10am and 4pm from Friday, 27 May to Saturday, 4 June, as visitors come to Sydney’s newest harbour foreshore park to reflect on the significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures in our nation’s story.

The event officially begins tomorrow, Friday, 27 May, with a free Opening Night Concert (5:00pm-8:30pm) featuring live performances by Christine Anu and Casey Donovan on Barangaroo Reserve’s Walumil Lawns.

“The Sea of Hands is a great representation of community support for reconciliation and rights Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, so I can't wait to be a part of it at Barangaroo Reserve,” said singer and radio presenter Christine Anu.

Performer Casey Donovan said: “ANTaR's Sea of Hands is a great coming together of community support, not only for reconciliation and rights, but also for extending our hand to everyone. I'm really excited to be playing alongside one of Australia's beautiful and strong Indigenous sisters, Christine Anu, at the opening night concert for the week-long Sea of Hands installation.”

The vibrant installation has been designed by Gurindji/Malngin/Mudpurra artist and researcher Brenda L Croft, and is inspired by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and historical portraits depicting a number of Eora men adorned in customary ochre body markings. One of the sites references Bennelong, who was one of Barangaroo’s husbands. Customary markings on the body reference the integral relationship that Indigenous people have to, and with, Country.

ANTaR, National Director, Andrew Meehan said: “We are delighted to open this iconic National Reconciliation Week event, to provide an opportunity for people to participate and learn something about our nation’s shared history.

“This is the largest Sea of Hands installation this century, on a site named after an important Cammeraygal woman, with a design that beautifully references that history in a way that involves the public,” said Meehan.

Visitors to Barangaroo Reserve can learn more about reconciliation at the ANTaR information hub and book an Aboriginal cultural tour with Barangaroo’s Visitor Services Guides.

Barangaroo Delivery Authority, CEO, Craig van der Laan said: “We are delighted to invite Sydneysiders to visit Barangaroo Reserve to participate in this terrific community demonstration of commitment to a more inclusive future for all Australians.

“Hosting the Sea of Hands at Barangaroo is a wonderful way to highlight the site’s rich cultural history and also to reunite in a symbolic way two key figures from our shared past, Barangaroo and her husband, Bennelong.”

ANTaR is a national, non-Indigenous organisation dedicated solely to supporting the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and working to educate the wider community, shape public opinion and speak up for justice, rights and respect for First Peoples of Australia. For more information, please visit www.antar.org.au/seaofhands and www.barangaroo.sydney

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Notes to editors:

National Reconciliation Week 2016 takes place from Friday, 27 May to Friday, 3 June 2016.

The Sea of Hands is one of ANTaR’s major reconciliation community campaigns. It was first held in 1997 in front of Parliament House, Canberra, in what was then the largest public art installation in Australia. The Sea of Hands has since become a symbol of the People’s Movement for Reconciliation, symbolising community support for reconciliation, rights and respect.

For media queries, contact:
ANTaR: Andrew Meehan, 02 9212 6008 | 0434 920 906 | andrew@antar.org.au
Barangaroo: Sarah Shields, Access PR, 02 9292 7007 | 0408 283 091 | sarah@accesspr.com.au