Jonathan Jones
17 September - 3 October 2016
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Project 32 App

Download the Project 32 App now for the full event listing and access to the special barrangal dyara (skin and bones) documentary series.

The Project 32 App also activates as you walk the site at the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, allowing you to hear conversations that inspired the project.

Available at the iTunes and Google Play stores now.



For the 32nd Kaldor Public Art Project Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones presents barrangal dyara (skin and bones), a vast sculptural installation stretching across 20,000 square-metres of the Royal Botanic Garden.

The Project will recall the 19th century Garden Palace building where it originally stood in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden, before it devastatingly burnt to the ground along with countless Aboriginal objects collected along the colonial frontier.

Thousands of bleached white shields will echo the masses of rubble - the only remnants of the building after the fire - raising the layered history and bones of the Garden Palace across the site. A native kangaroo grassland will form the heart of the installation which will be activated and enlivened by presentations of Aboriginal language, performances, talks, special events and workshops each day.

Spot Fire 1:
Landscape and language


State Library of New South Wales
Saturday 7 May

Crowning a high ridge above the city, the impressive Garden Palace dominated Sydney’s 19th century skyline. It was erected in the present-day Royal Botanic Garden, a final inner-city vestige of grassland and Indigenous country scraped clean. Announcing Australia to the world, the palace welcomed international visitors and their goods to the Sydney International Exhibition, 1879–80. Indigenous languages seemed to have been silenced on the ancient ground, while a chatter of other languages, currencies and philosophies from all round the world were ushered in. Spot Fire 1: Landscape and language reveals the cultural landscape and built environment that led to the Garden Palace, asking `what are the configurations of country still active in the site on the edge of the city?’.

Spot Fire 2:
Spectacle, manifestation, performance

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Saturday 16 July

Housing the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879–80, the ostentatious Garden Palace completed the Chief Colonial Architect of New South Wales, James Barnet’s, vision for Sydney. Gesturing out to Middle Harbour and the Heads, it was the city’s boast of its burgeoning colonial enterprise. But the Garden Palace’s magnificence was fleeting, lasting only three years. In 1882, in an ultimate spectacular display, the palace and all its contents were destroyed by an intense fire that took only a few hours to obliterate everything except the gates at the south-west entrance to the grounds. Spot Fire 2: Spectacle, manifestation, performance considers the history of spectacle in Sydney and interrogates the grandiose cultural vision that promoted the Australian colonies to the world.

Spot Fire 3:
Loss and resilience


Australian Museum
Saturday 6 August

When the grand Garden Palace burned down in 1882, vast stores of archival and cultural material were lost, including an ethnological collection assembled by the Australian Museum – a loss that is felt to this day. But out of the void, new modes of display and public cultural engagement developed and Sydney began to recover. The burning palace was generative too, causing the growth of several fledgling organisations that may well have failed to emerge if the great centralised vision of the post-exhibition palace had prevailed. Spot Fire 3: Loss and resilience will celebrate the resilience of the many cultures impacted by the Garden Palace fire, showing how communities can heal and then find ways to thrive after catastrophe. 

Kaldor Public Art Projects

For over 40 years Kaldor Public Art Projects, has created groundbreaking projects with international artists in public spaces, changing the landscape of contemporary art in Australia with projects that resonate around the world.

John Kaldor AM is a dedicated collector, patron and supporter of contemporary art. He has been collecting and commissioning art since the late 1950s and since 1969 has shared his love of art with the Australian public through his series of art projects.