Jonathan blossums in Royal Botanical exhibition

Tens of thousands of people are expected to view an art project by Wiradjuri-Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden.

Jones’ barrangal dyara, or skin and bones, was inspired by the history of the 19th century Garden Palace which stood in the garden from 1879 to 1882 when it burnt down.

Jones’ work includes a sculptural installation of 15,000 white shields covering 20,000 square metres, marking the original site of the palace building, and a meadow of kangaroo grass.

Eight Aboriginal language soundscapes are also featured.

The project is a key part of the garden’s bicentenary celebrations.

“Barrangal dyara is a response to the immense loss felt throughout Australia due to the destruction of countless culturally significant Aboriginal objects when the Palace was razed by fire on 22 September 1882,” Jones said.

“It represents an effort to commence a healing process and a celebration of the survival of the world’s oldest living culture despite this traumatic event.”

Kaldor Public Arts Projects founder John Kaldor said Jones’ work was one of their most significant to date. There have been 32 so far.

The Garden Palace housed the Sydney International Exhibition, a showcase of the best of Australia in the 1800s, including artefacts representing 50 different Aboriginal tribes.

The art project will be on show until October 3.

The original Garden Palace before it was burnt down.
The original Garden Palace before it was burnt down.

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