Under the Stars

21 Mar 2020 – 2021

Location: Contemporary galleries

Free admission

Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists highlight our shared understandings of the night sky.

‘We can all look at the stars, whichever sky we’re looking at.’ Gulumbu Yunupingu

Taking a transhistorical approach, Under the Stars presents stargazing and mapping by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, highlighting the commonalities and connections in our shared attempts to understand the night sky and our place in relation to it.

This exhibition marks 250 years since Captain Cook landed at Kamay (Botany Bay). For his first voyage (1768-71), Cook had two main missions — to document the transit of Venus and to locate the ‘unknown southern land’. He documented the transit of Venus in 1769 and reached Kamay (Botany Bay) on 29 April 1770. Under the Stars uses his first aim as a catalyst to bring to light the fascination with and the understandings of stars and the night sky.

With a focus on Indigenous knowledge, it presents an opportunity to explore – at a time when discussions of Cook will be dominated by questions of ownership – an expanse that is not owned and connects us all.

Free admission

Image: Shaun Gladwell Planet and stars sequence: Barrier Highway 2009 (video still) (detail), single-channel digital video, colour, sound. Art Gallery of New South Wales. Gift of Peter Lin and Harry John Wilson 2015. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program © Shaun Gladwell