19 March 2019

We respectfully acknowledge and thank the Dharawal speaking people of Southern Sydney on whose traditional land we peacefully gather to share stories about what we make.

Bereewagal, naa niya. Yura ngura dyi ngurang gurugal.  
People who come from afar, I see all of you. Aboriginal people camped here, at this place, long ago.
Ngoon dyalgala niya, ngoon bamaraadbanga ni.  
We embrace all of you; we open the door to all of you.
Ngoon – mari ngurang – niya mudang yura ngurra.  
We lend this place to all of you to live while we sleep.

The Dharawal concept of dyalgala, or embrace, is one that resonates through this issue. Sydney’s magnificent harbour is formed by the northern and southern lands embracing the sea. And beyond that, the George and Nepean rivers contain the traditional Dharawal lands of the west. We’re very pleased to feature the work of Dharawal weaver, Aunty Phyllis Stewart, who has been leading the Yirran Miigaydhu weaver’s group in Campbelltown. The concept of dyalgala has also inspired the installation by Lucy Simpson, Reflection Pods, produced by Yolngu weavers on the islands off Arnhem Land

These lands of Aboriginal peoples was invaded by the British in 1788. We acknowledge the great losses this inflicted and that the land was never ceded. This needs to be kept in mind, even when we celebrate the positive role that a city like Sydney can play. 

Since settlement, Sydney has received waves of people who have sought a second chance, ranging from the British convicts to more recent refugees. Western Sydney has offered a home to many of them, assisted by the network of regional art galleries that develop and present their creative work. We’re pleased to feature the art of Bic Tieu, Linda Brescia and South Sudanese women’s group at Fairfield, Abdullah Syed in Parramatta, and elsewhere the work of Social Outfit and Seed Stitch. Yixuan Geng shares her perspective as a young Chinese student in Sydney. This theme is also reflected outside Sydney, by Sarah Tomasetti in Melbourne, Sahr Bashir in Adelaide and Melanie Gupta in Brisbane.

Underlying this theme of refuge, is an understanding of the city as a structure built by many individual hands. Peter Emmett, witnessed by Gary Warner, reflects on the crafted nature of Sydney and its resonance in museums. Liz Williamson also looks to the colourful urban history of natural dyes. The quarterly essay by Tracey Clement presents the handmade as a contested element in the city’s life, epitomised in the post-capitalist basket by Bridget Kennedy. The ongoing role of craft as a vital part of the city is expanded by Lisa Cahill and Penny Craswell, and demonstrated in the local “craft classic” of the Hayman jug and the vibrant ceramics of Peter Cooley.

We continue our haberdashery of important stories from Papua New Guinea, China, England and India.

With this issue, we are now two-thirds into our journey across the Indo-Pacific. Warm thanks to those who have guided us to this safe harbour, particularly Abdullah Syed, Gary Warner, Michelle Montgomery, Grace Cochrane, Eva Czernis-Ryl, Liz Williamson, the staff at Campbelltown Arts Centre and the wonderful team at Australian Design Centre.

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