Photographed by Brian Marden

This work consists of over 4,000 vials arranged and fitted into a 4 metre by two and a half metre clear polycarbonate sheet. The vials are arranged as a dot painting and formed to the shape of the Australian continent and in the pattern of the Aboriginal flag. Each vial contains a portion of sand that came from the exact location where Lt James Cook first trod on Australian soil at Kurnell in Sydney.

Each Aboriginal person can come to accept one of the vials as a gift of reconciliation as each vial holds in it the land from when the continent was wholly Aboriginal. When one vial is taken, a new one is then put in its place.

The work was conceived after discussions with Dr Shane Williams, a lecturer at Charles Sturt University and an expert on the area of first contact between Aboriginal people and Cook.  He put me in contact with the La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council whose descendants met Cook and they then guided the formation and creation of the work.

The sands were retrieved with Dean Kelly, Aboriginal Consultant and Ranger at Kurnell with his team of trainees. The finished sculpture was presented in 2010 to Ros Kelly, CEO of the La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council. For several years it was displayed at Yabun on Survival Day (Australia Day) and was also used at the head of a police escorted march to denounce John Howard Government’s program of child Intervention.

Pictured: Gary Grant
The Australian 26 January 2011

About Gary

Gary Grant has been involved in a number of special public sculptures, some of which were: 'Tree of Life' sculpture for Prince of Wales Children’s Hospital, Ronald Macdonald House Randwick; 'Star of Remembrance' sculpture for Bear Cottage Children’s Hospice Manly; 'Reconciliation' sculpture involving NSW National Parks and Wildlife with the La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council, 9/11 Decade of Remembrance' in association with the New York Tribute Center. Gary Grant has been an active member on the Executive of the Sculptors Society for 15 years.

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