born in darkness before dawn

Related to City Art
Installed from 20 November 2013 to 20 February 2014
Larger than life image of an Aboriginal woman projected onto the 20-metre façade of the Australian Museum wall

The blank, windowless wall of the Australian Museum on William Street was transformed with a mesmerising exploration of place.

Artist: Nicole Foreshew
Curator: Hetti Perkins
This artwork was temporary and is no longer at this location.

Artwork description

Larger-than-life images of Aboriginal women were projected onto the 20m façade of the Australian Museum to celebrate the importance of Sydney’s Indigenous history and culture.

The film combines slow movement and still imagery in a muted, sepia-rich architectural projection, around 3 hours in duration. The film features women draped in cloth imbued with traces of mineral and plant specimens. The cloth was dyed with bark and leaves, found in gutters, water drains and at the base of trees. It was thus infused with design elements referencing the growth and structure of plant organisms and remains.

The work explores the Aboriginal concept of place, tracing personal histories and connections to communities. Women, family, friends and people the artist knows, from Sydney and Western Sydney, were invited to place themselves into the cloth. These are women who have impacted on Foreshew’s understanding of ‘place’.

The cloth is illuminated to emphasise the transition of space, as it is always moving between social relationships, revolving around people occupying, owning, seizing, developing, losing or transforming a space. 

The projections went live nightly for a 3-month period, from 20 November 2013 to 20 February 2014.

“ … carrying symbols of genetic rhythm, annual seasons and the body’s decay, images moving or still become blurred arrangements of everyday interactions with people and place.”

– Nicole Foreshew, 2013


Nicole Foreshew is a Sydney-based Wiradjuri artist. Her artistic practice involves environmentally sustainable plant materials and minerals which are used to permeate objects for performance.

Foreshew’s grandfather was born on the banks of the Bogan River in Peak Hill. Her grandmother and great grandmother are from Dubbo, located in the Central West region of NSW. The Australian Museum has 11 objects and one carved tree from Peak Hill. The museum’s mineralogy and palaeontology collection include Talbragar fossils, a Jurassic Period site near Gulgong.

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