03 Nov, 2015

Australian First As Reconciliation Room Launches

As part of its 175th year celebrations, City of Adelaide launches the long-awaited Mankurri- api Kuu/ Reconciliation Room in Town Hall on Wednesday, November 4 at 10:00am.

The Kaurna language for ‘reconciliation’ is Mankurri-api Kuu meaning to speak friendly together.

Commissioned artworks by artists Donald ‘Bluey’ Roberts and Paul Herzich will be launched on the day, as will Council’s Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan 2015-18 by Justin Mohamed, CEO Reconciliation Australia

A traditional smoking ceremony will help launch the room and AFL legend and Indigenous artist, Gavin Wanganeen, will help the Lord Mayor cut the ribbon. One of Gavin’s paintings will also be on display in the Queen Adelaide Room nearby for guests to view on the day.

“There is quite a backstory to this piece as I began painting it when I was playing at Port Adelaide,” said Gavin.

“Football prevented me from finishing and the canvas lay around for several years until my wife spotted it and suggested I complete it.

“This spurred me on and, incredibly, it has opened up as an exciting new career path.”

In May 2014, Council endorsed the conversion of the Exhibition Room in the Adelaide Town Hall into a Reconciliation Room. The space – the first of its style in Australia – will have the capability to display co-created programmed exhibitions and provide a welcoming and quiet place for people to meet.

The room has been refurbished as part of the Town Hall renewal plans and features include the commissioned artworks and a big screen TV to feature educational and cultural videos.

The art exhibition within the room is from 4 November to 4 April. The curator has chosen artists, whose themes include portraiture and digital archival footage showing connection to Aboriginal history to align with Council’s 175th anniversary.

Lord Mayor, Martin Haese, said the development of the ManKurri-api Kuu/Reconciliation Room reflects Council’s commitment to stimulating public engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

“In this our 175th year it’s important to show we want to strengthen our partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the true spirit of reconciliation,” said Martin.

“The City of Adelaide is committed to promoting cooperative approaches and Mankurri-api Kuu/Reconciliation Room is one such example of support for projects that reinforce the importance Kaurna culture brings to South Australia.”

Dual-Chair of Council’s Reconciliation Committee, Yvonne Agius, said every step taken together with the City of Adelaide further promotes the importance of reconciliation in SA.

“Increasing public awareness and understanding of the reconciliation process is an important aspect of the work the Reconciliation Committee and City of Adelaide create together,” said Yvonne.

“Having a central and accessible place that provides the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community with opportunities for co-created exhibitions, places to represent stories of the local Kaurna people and celebrate significant cultural anniversaries helps promote cultural resilience and harmony.”

Council will continue its 175th Birthday celebrations tomorrow evening with a ceremonial council meeting in the Council Chamber from 5:30pm.

More Information

The significance of the 4 November launch date coincides with the date of the first meeting of Council 175 years ago.

Two permanent major artworks have been commissioned specifically for the room, including; a wooden sculpture titled ‘Reconciliation Spirit Tree’, created by internationally acclaimed artist Donald ‘Bluey’ Roberts and a bespoke artistic screen titled ‘My Country, Our State’ by artist Paul Herzich that recognises and celebrates the diversity of Aboriginal cultures in South Australia by acknowledging all major Aboriginal groups whose country is either fully or partly located within the state of South Australia.

In the spirit of reconciliation, the colour arrangement of each contemporary styled meeting place symbol expresses a connection to country for each of the Aboriginal groups and supports natural relationships that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people share with country.

People interested in using Mankurri –api Kuu can contact the Adelaide Town Hall on (08) 8203 7590 or email [email protected]

For more information

Matt Halliwell