Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Sydney Insiders Blog

A totem in time

a sunset over a body of water

Monumental in scale and ambition, The Eyes of the Land and the Sea by Alison Page and Nik Lachajczak commemorates the 250th anniversary of the 1770 encounter between Aboriginal Australians and Lt James Cook’s crew of the HMB Endeavour at Kamay Botany Bay National Park, Australia.

The artwork is cast in bronze and takes the form of seven ribs, resembling both the hull of the HMB Endeavour, as well as the bones of a whale, being the Gadigal totem. An amalgam of two very different forms, the commemorative installation speaks to the different perspectives of those first encounters, evoking a sense of sentiment, mutual understanding and reflection on the events of 1770.

Each rib or bone has a different surface treatment, including carvings and text to represent the numerous layers of culture and history in Kamay Botany Bay.

Alison Page and Nik Lachacjzak worked closely with researchers at the Gujaga Foundation and Gweagal artist, Shane Youngberry to develop cultural and historical content which has been etched into each rib. This also describes those encounters at Kamay in 1770, inviting viewers to deeply engage with these diverse stories.

Alison explained, ‘The Eyes of the Land and the Sea’ is a story about discovery. Not the discovery of land by England, but of all Australians discovering our true history as we move together towards a reconciled Nation.’

IMAGE CREDIT: Bligh Tanner

a sunset over a body of water