Artist, Tony Albert

"I feel that the most powerful artworks relating to war are those that use bold and evocative images to stir strong emotions in visitors. I feel that the scale of the bullets, at 100 times their original size, also lends power of abstraction to this artwork ... and I have chosen to arrange the bullets with some standing and some fallen over, to tell a story."

Babana Men’s Group Fun(d)raiser

The Babana Men’s Group Fundraiser is a one-night event featuring an auction of unique artworks by over 30 of Australia’s leading contemporary artists.

  • Tuesday 11 November, 6pm onwards 
  • Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh
  • Auction by Sotheby’s • Preview from 10am
  • Guest MC Hetti Perkins
  • Special Guest Performance • Prizes • Raffles • Entertainment 

Babana is a brotherhood of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men who are focused on working to improve the lives of greater Sydney Aboriginal communities.

In late 2013 Tony Albert was commissioned by the City of Sydney to create a Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women. The memorial will be unveiled in 2015, commemorating 100 years since the landing on Gallipoli. During the realisation of this project, Tony has been working closely with the Babana Men’s Group, many of whom are ex-servicemen who have committed their lives to ensuring the recognition of our diggers.

After witnessing firsthand the wonderful work Babana does for the community, Tony was moved to help raise funds for the group. More than 30 Australian artists have been invited to creatively engage with a scaled timber bullet, based on Tony’s Memorial project.

An auction of these artworks will be held at Carriageworks on 11 November 2014.

The auction catalogue is available for download below. 

Images, clockwise from top left: Lindy Lee, Hiromi Tango, Sydney Ball, Abdul Abdullah.

Images, clockwise from top left: Lindy Lee, Hiromi Tango, Sydney Ball, Abdul Abdullah.

Thou didst let fall – 'Yininmadyemi'

Aboriginal artist Tony Albert (pictured above) whose family has over 80-years of combined military service will create a public artwork for Hyde Park to honour the sacrifices and bravery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women.

Mr Albert’s dramatic sculpture work is inspired by his grandfather’s story about himself and 6 soldiers who escaped from a prisoner of war camp in Germany, only to be caught by Italian soldiers who lined them up to be executed.

The Italians shot 3 of the men before realising their mistake – the men were POWs and should have been returned to Germany.

Mr Albert’s artwork is a reminder of how his grandfather and fellow service people were treated differently to their white comrades after the war.

“When service men and women returned to Australia, they were given land for their service.

"However, not only was Eddie and his fellow Aboriginal soldiers not given any land, their land was still being taken away.

“Eddie and fellow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women defended our country, they were prepared to fall but upon returning to our country, they were left to fall again – ‘yininmadyemi,’ thou didst let fall,” Mr Albert said.

The artwork will be located in Hyde Park South due to the site’s historical significance. The area was once a ritual contest ground, a crossroads for traditional walking trails, and an important site for ceremony, gathering and camping. It is also home to the Anzac Memorial.

The artwork will be composed of 4 standing bullets at 7-metres tall, to represent those who survived and 3 fallen shells in remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Author and Wiradjuri woman Anita Heiss will work with Mr Albert to write inscriptions honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women. These will be engraved on the bullets.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have served Australia in the military from before the Boer War to the present, but it may never be known how many officially served as ethnic origin was never required to be documented.

The artwork was selected by a panel made up of representatives from the City’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Design Advisory panels, the Eora Journey Public Art Working Group, the Art Gallery of NSW and the Australian War Memorial. The selection followed a competitive and open submission process that attracted proposals from 14 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, which were evaluated by the panel.

Mr Albert’s family are Girrimay, Yidinji and Kuku Yalandji, from Far North Queensland. His grandfather Eddie served in the Australian Army in World War II.

As part of the City of Sydney’s Anzac centenary commemorations, the City's History Unit has put together a new series of oral history interviews with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service people and their families. Their stories illuminate an underdocumented aspect of Australia’s service history, and can be read and listened to on the Oral Histories website.

A sod turning ceremony marked the start of works to install the 'Yininmadyemi' artwork on 15 October 2014 in Hyde Park. Invited guests and the local community gathered to break the soil and witness a traditional smoking ceremony for the safe and successful completion of the project.

Last updated: Monday, 10 November 2014