How can you sleep?
2022 Artist Residency + Commission Work - Old Government House, Burramatta

'Material Resonance' is the process of extracting sound from debris found on sites of cultural and historical significance.

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How can you sleep?

2022
Projected light and sound installation featuring the voice of Corina Wayali Norman, Guwul Dharug dyin - (Senior Dharug woman) Dharug wagul yurayin (From Dharug First Peoples) - Cultural and Language Consultant.

Artist Statement
 
The crafted bed frame attributed to convict craftsman Alexander Hart poses a critical question about the period in history in which it existed. Hart, a highly regarded convict artisan, most likely made this structure for Robert Lowe, a wealthy landowner and magistrate who assisted Governor Macquarie in expanding the colony inland. An expansion which included the traumatic dispossession and displacement of Aboriginal people and the clearing of the land for agricultural use. When introduced to Hart's bed, I recalled Midnight Oil's protest song, 'Beds are Burning. released in 1987, written by Rob Hurst. The song's critical lyric, 'How do we sleep, While our beds are burning', triggered a question: How did the bed's occupants sleep with the spectre of human suffering around them?

This work features a traditional lullaby in the language of the Dharug people accompanied by the abstracted sounds of metal, wood, fire and stone, the processes that built a colony. The result is an installation of discordant sonic and visual expression set in contrast to the stillness of a historically revered object. This work has been created in consultation with and features the voice of Corina Wayali Norman, Guwul Dharug dyin - (Senior Dharug woman) Dharug wagul yurayin (From Dharug First Peoples) - Cultural and Language Consultant.

National Trust NSW and Exhibition Curator: Anna Ridley
Installation within Exhibition: ‘Making Good: Convict Artisans in Exile’

Lyrics

 

Nanga, nanga, nanga

Nanga Yandyimi

Sleep, sleep, sleep

You go to sleep

 

Nangamay nangamay nangamay

Nangamay malayin

Dream, dream, dream

Dream of ancestors

 

Malayin nalgarra

Malayin nalgarra

(Ancestors) bloodline

(Ancestors) bloodline

 

Gulbanga dharug malayin

Hold up/honour Dharug ancestors (the bloodline)

 

Ngalawangun ngalawangun

We remain, we remain

 

Dharug ngalawangun

Dharug, we remain