The National Aboriginal Design Agency worked with Westpac, project managers Lend Lease and designers Geyer to create contemporary and meaningful Aboriginal designs for the Westpac Barangaroo building.
Two designs were chosen for the project, Grinding Grooves and BirdFish, both by Gumbaynggirr artist Brentyn Lugnan.
The Grinding Grooves design was used on rugs.
Story of Grinding Grooves Design: Sites of Aboriginal axe-grinding grooves are rare, they provide valuable information about how stone tools were made and increase our knowledge of past Aboriginal land use and ways of life. Axe-grinding grooves are an important link for Aboriginal people today with their culture and their heritage. In the past Aboriginal people used axe-grinding grooves to finish partly made axes (known as ‘axe blanks’) or sharpen axes that were worn or chipped. Axe blanks are pieces of stone that were chipped into a basic axe shape at stone quarries and sharpened by rubbing the edges over sandstone. It was this rubbing action that left the grooves. Water was sprinkled onto the sandstone to make it more abrasive and to reduce dust. This is why the grooves are usually found on outcrops close to water. This design shows a reveal of axe-grinding grooves in a sandstone platform around a waterhole.
BirdFish was used for ecoustic screens.
Story of BirdFish Design: Birds and fish are both integral parts of the Aboriginal lifestyle. They form a basis for both spiritual exploration and ceremony and a practical means of survival through food. Sustainability was an important part of Aboriginal culture; everything was utilised, the entire bird was used, not just the meat for feeding the family but the feathers would be used in ceremony. Birds and fish were also important spiritual symbols and totems for Aboriginal people.
Birds and fish are both integral parts of the Aboriginal lifestyle. They form a basis for both spiritual exploration and ceremony and a practical means of survival through food.
Artist Breynton Lugnan
Brentyn Lugnan is a Gumbaynggirr artist and Coffs Harbour identity. Originally from Urunga, he returned to the Mid North Coast after living in Sydney’s inner city, where he worked as graphic designer for SBS and an animator at the ABC. Brentyn’s public art appears across the interior of the Westpac building at Barangaroo, in Darling Harbour and throughout the foyer of Coffs Harbour Court House.