Bankstown Biennale: SubTerrains

Bankstown Biennale: SubTerrains
Arts Centre

SubTerrains Bankstown Biennale 2022 is a First Nations artists’ led response to local narratives of land, water and historical truths buried within Bankstown’s landscape. 

Co-curated by Nicole Monks and Vandana Ram.

Exhibition Artists:

Abdul Abdullah, Aroha Groves, Carmen Glynn-Braun, Cigdem Aydemir, Dean Kelly, Jamie Eastwood, Jason Wing, Juxta, Kerrie Kenton, Lucy Simpson, Maddison Gibbs, Nardi Simpson, Paula do Prado, Theatre Kantanka

8 October-26 November 2022

Where: Bankstown Arts Centre, Incubate Artists Studio​​

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Images by Document Photography​

Writers respond to SubTerrains

Bankstown Arts Centre has partnered with the Sydney Review of Books  to showcase the work of emerging Western Sydney writers as part of Subterrains: Bankstown Biennale 2022.

Luke Vitale, The Many Histories of Salt Pan Creek

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Kobra Sayyadi, Unveiling through art

Virtual tour​​


​​SubTerrains Artists

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Abdul Abdullah is an Australian multi-disciplinary artist with a practice primarily concerned with the experience of the ‘other’ and is particularly interested in the disjuncture between perception/projection of identity and the reality of lived experience. Identifying as a Muslim and having both Malay/Indonesian and convict/settler Australian heritage, Abdullah occupies a precarious space in the political discourse that puts him at odds with popular definitions. He sees himself as an artist working in the peripheries of a peripheral city, in a peripheral country, orbiting a world on the brink.
Instagram: @abdul_abdullah
Photo: Supplied

​​Aroha Groves is a Gomeroi, Weilwan and Dharawal artist born in the Bankstown area, who has worked in various mediums, from digital to hand-built installations. Her work speaks to her heritage, with themes always coming back to Indigenous motifs such as cultural objects and plants. 


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Carmen Glynn-Braun is a cross disciplinary artist with family connections to the Kaytetye, Anmatyerr and Arrernte people. Her unique upbringing of living between Inner City Sydney and Alice Springs is reflected within her artistic practice, employing a trans-disciplinary approach inspired by both urban space as well familial and cultural methods of making. Glynn-Braun’s work predominantly explores the lived experiences of Aboriginal women, translated through gentle and experimental approaches to materials and form. She seeks to use her work as a platform to uplift, empower and ensure First Nations storytelling is preserved for generations to come.

Instagram: @carmenglynnbraun
Photo: Supplied

Cigdem Aydemir is a Sydney-based artist working in the mediums of installation, performance and video art. Her socially and politically engaged art practice investigates possibilities for intersubjective and transcultural communication with an interest in post-colonial and feminist issues. Much of her work expands on the veil as a culturally constructed site and as material realisation, while exploring the veiled woman cipher as resistant female other and as lived experience. Through critiquing, decolonizing and queering mechanisms, Cigdem questions established relations of power, while producing work that is driven equally by research, play, criticism and humour.

Photo: Supplied

Dean Kelly is both a South Coast NSW Saltwater Yuin, Walbunja, Dhoorga Gurandgi cultural man through his father, and Western NSW Freshwater stone country cultural Wailwan, Nypampai Man through his mother. Kelly is a member of the Botany Bay Aboriginal Community and is also accepted as belonging to the La Perouse Aboriginal Community. As a Cultural Practitioner, his true passion and cultural obligation is dedicated to the protection and preservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage. 

Photo: Supplied

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Jamie Eastwood is a First nations artist born on Gadigal country and inherits his Aboriginality from his traditional Grandmothers country Brewarrina far western NSW Ngamba Tribe and his ancestry of his mothers, who is a descendent of king Bungaree of the Hawkesbury Kuring - Gai Darug People. Easwtood’s artistic practice is to combine traditional and non-traditional colors and imagery to tell his story as an Aboriginal artis. He chooses to paint in this way as a means of visually reconciling the audience and as an affirmation of his people and identity.

Photo: Supplied

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 Jason Wing questions our understanding of history and of our current socio-political reality through his practice. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.  Wing’s work is held in both private and public collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Wing's first monograph was published by Artspace 2014. He was recently selected in the Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, NSW, 2017.

Instagram: @jasonwing1
Photo: Alex Wisser

​​Kerrie Kenton is a First Nations Artist and a Wangal Woman of Sydney. Kerrie holds many commissions and public art works to her name across Sydney. Her works are held in collections in Australia and overseas. Kerrie is a multidisciplinary visual artist and her works reflect and connect with her First Nations Heritage and Ancestry. 

“Art allows me to express myself without having to speak. Transcending boundaries of race, religion & gender. My art reconnects me to Country & is intricately woven with knowledge, kinship, stories & song.” – Kerrie Kenton

Photo: Supplied


Lucy Simpson is a Sydney based Yuwaalaraay woman, and process-led designer / maker who explores notions of time and place through materiality and visual narratives which connect, record and communicate experience and story - both old and new. Her design practice works to honour and translate stories of country, creating First Nations perspectives and presence through conceptual and tactile installation works, projects within the built environment, and throughout the public domain. Lucy's career in design has spanned 10 years since graduating from UNSW Art & Design, having also established design studio and textiles label Gaawaa Miyay. She continues to work across a wide range of mediums and disciplines and has developed and  collaborated on a range of commercial, artistic, community based projects throughout this time

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​​​Maddison Gibbs is a proud Barkindji woman who grew up in Dubbo, NSW. She currently lives and works between Sydney and Kandos, NSW. Both artist and activist, Maddison Gibbs practice examines dual histories – focusing on stories of past and present Aboriginal societies and spirit. A multidisciplinary artist, Gibbs works across a wide spectrum of cultural praxis, utilising many methods and ideologies. Current thematics include intergenerational stories of contemporary Aboriginal affairs – with a focus on telling women’s narratives.

Instagram @gibbsmaddie
Photo: Supplied


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Nardi Simpson is a Yuwaalaraay writer, musician, storyteller and educator from NSW’s north west freshwater plains. As a member of Indigenous duo Stiff Gins, Nardi has travelled nationally and internationally for the past 20 years, performing in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Vietnam and the Pacific Islands. Nardi is the recipient of the 2018 Black&Write! Indigenous Writers Fellowship with the state library of Queensland author of Song of the Crocodile. Nardi is a participant in Ngaria Burria Indigenous Composures initiative and the musical director of Barayagal, a cross cultural choir run out of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2019. Nardi is also a Gamilaraay Language teacher and cultural consultant heavily involved in the teaching and sharing of culture in both her Sydney and Yuwaalaraay communities.

 Photo: Image by Lucy Simpson, courtesy of Nardi Simpson

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​Paula do Prado is a visual artist who works with tejidos/weavings as an active form of reclaiming, remembering and resisting. Her practice surfaces the intersections of her Bantu, Iberian and Charrúan ancestral lineages. She holds a BFA, First Class Honours (Textiles) and a MFA (Research) from the University of New South Wales Art & Design. She has recently been selected to include work in the 5th Tamworth Textile Triennial 2023 and is currently a PhD candidate at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.
Photo: Supplied

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Nicole Monks  is a trans-disciplinary artist of Yamatji Wajarri, Dutch and English heritage. Living and practicing in Redfern, Monks is informed by her cross-cultural identity and her work takes its focus from storytelling, as a way to connect the past with the present and future.

Instagram @Nicole_Monks 
Photo: Dan Boud


JUXTA is a live development of our original online project, which featured 24 artists who each created a sound or video work in response to the theme of WATER. These works were uploaded to a specifically designed website - This led to a live, club style iteration that was presented at Bankstown Arts Centre’s as part of the NEXUS in April 2022. With 18 new commissions, responding to the theme of FIRE, we used V/DJs to select and mix the video and audio ‘tracks’ for a live audience.

Instagram: @juxtastudio
Photo: Supplied

Kantanka is a creative collective led by artist Carlos Gomes that incorporates the talents of visiting artists, who collaborate on a project-by-project basis. Since Kantanka’s inception in 1995, the company has been making contemporary art, reflecting on our diverse society. Kantanka has created a number of significant productions using ancient tales, diverse cultural influences, non-traditional sites, and new technologies’, while employing a dymanic visual design and strong physical aesthetic.

See their installation at our Incubate Artists Studio.
When: 8 October-5 November, Saturdays, 10am-4pm


SubTerrains Forum and resources

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SubTerrains Forum: Storylines - connections to Country and sovereignty

A conversation exploring the SubTerrains Bankstown Biennale, focusing on local narratives of resilience and self-determination and the current call to action for a Voice in Parliament and the Uluru Statement from the Heart.



Wesley Enoch AM

Wesley Enoch AM is an internationally acclaimed playwright and artistic director, and currently Indigenous Chair in the Creative Industries with QUT.

He was the Artistic Director of the Sydney Festival from 2017 to 2020 and was previously the Artistic Director at Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts and the Ilbijerri Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-operative

Wesley Enoch has written and directed iconic Indigenous productions The 7 Stages of Grieving, Black Medea and The Story of The Miracles at Cookie’s Table. He has directed productions of The Sapphires, Black Diggers, I am Eora, The Man From Mukinupin, Yibiyung, Parramatta Girls and Black Cockatoo.

​Uncle Shayne Williams - Chair of the Burraga Foundation
Dr Shayne T Williams is from the Aboriginal community of La Perouse, located on the northern side of Botany Bay in Sydney. His parents were Thomas Henry Williams OBE and Iris Williams (née Callaghan). He is Dharawal through his paternal and maternal grandmothers. He is also Dhungutti through his maternal grandfather and Gomilaroi through his paternal grandfather. He is also connected to the peoples of Victoria through his paternal great-grandfather.
From 1991 to 2011, Shayne worked within the tertiary sector, specialising in Indigenous studies, Indigenous education and Indigenous research. He is currently an Aboriginal Language and Culture Consultant with the NSW AECG Inc. In this role he is actively engaged in promoting the advancement of Aboriginal language and culture nests within New South Wales and advancing localised Aboriginal cultural education through curriculum development and professional development of teachers.
Aroha Groves

Aroha Groves is a Gomeroi, Weilwan and Dharawal artist born in the Bankstown area, who has worked in various mediums, from digital to hand-built installations. Her work speaks to her heritage, with themes always coming back to Indigenous motifs such as cultural objects and plants. She is one of the Bankstown Biennale artists who also grew up in the area. Her work references the Uluru statement.


Jennifer Newman

Jennifer Newman is the chair of Canterbury Bankstown Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander / a member of Council’s Arts and Culture Advisory groups; and an Executive member of the Cooks River Valley Association Jennifer is a member of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, sitting in both the Guardianship and the Administrative and Equal Opportunity Divisions. She uses experiential education to help individuals celebrate their cultural identities but does this in a way that allows them to walk together comfortably with care and respect on Aboriginal land.


​Alison Page

Alison Page is an award-winning creative at the forefront of contemporary Australian Aboriginal design and storytelling. As a descendant of the Walbanga and Wadi Wadi people of the Yuin nation, and as a leading force in the Australian design scene, she champions the contemporary creative expression of Aboriginal identity. Until recently, Alison was the founding CEO of the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance and Director of their annual Saltwater Freshwater festival. She was the founder of the National Aboriginal Design Agency, and was a member of the expert panel for the federal government’s Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous People.

10 Steps of walking together with First Nations people to create change

  1. Read the Uluru Statement from the Heart out loud for yourself and with your family, friends and peers.

  2. Go for a walk on country, follow the course of the water.

  3. Think about a local animal, plant and/or place to learn more about and protect.

  4. Learn the traditional name of your local area, local language group or clan.

  5. Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander artists and enterprises.

  6. Pick up a book by an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait islander writer at your local bookstore or library.

  7. Read articles about the Uluru Statement from the heart and how it could change Australia.

  8. Read the Referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice resources.  

  9. Follow @IndigenousX on your socials

  10. Follow @SeedMob on your socials.

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Images by Document Photography​

Proudly funded by NSW Government