Goldfields icons: The projection of the painting, featuring a Cobb and Co coach and Eureka Flag, is best seen from the top of the Monumental Steps. Photo: MICK TSIKAS/AAP IMAGE

My Country takes to the Opera House

April 30, 2021 BY

BALLARAT, My Country (2019), by artist and Wadawurrung elder Marlene Gilson is being projected on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

The painting is being presented hourly from sunset each day, alongside artworks from five other female First Nations creatives, as part of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ 150th anniversary project Badu Gili: Wonder Women, which launched last weekend.

“This is something you would never think would happen. It just stands out, and it’s amazing to see it,” Gilson said.

“The other Wonder Women are amazing ladies, and they were so happy. They come from the desert, and for them it was overwhelming, as it was for me.

“Ballarat’s going to be showcased on those sails for a year-and-a-half, so it’s a great help for our tourism. I love The Goldfields, and this is an honour.”

If having her art celebrated on one of the country’s most iconic buildings wasn’t enough, Gilson was also given a special surprise at the launch event.

“When I got there, my son Barry sung, and they filmed him for the archives. I’ve been treated like a rock-star, really.”

Gilson’s piece, Ballarat, My Country was purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2020 for their permanent collection. It is on display at the Gallery alongside the “old masters.”

“That really made me cry,” she said.

The Sydney Opera House is at Bennelong Point on the lands of traditional owners, the Gadigal people. Badu Gili means ‘water light’ in their language.

The projections are on the east sails of the Bennelong restaurant, free to view and are best seen from the top of the Monumental Steps.