Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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If you have visited Taronga Zoo recently you’ll have seen some changes.

Over the past few years we have been working on projects to better acknowledge and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture and Country. Many stakeholders have been involved so far – but the work of some wonderfully talented Indigenous artists is on permanent display in the new Main Entry Plaza.

Outside the historic building is a group of works by a collaborative team coordinated by Jane Cavanagh of Artlandish Art and Design. The design of each piece was guided by a young NSW artist, Adrina Kobane, and they were crafted by Tomas and Tibor Misura. Together the works acknowledge the Saltwater People, Country and culture of the Cammeraigal, as well as long-held sustainable practices of Indigenous peoples right across Australia.

Artworks celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture and Country
A goanna, angophora leaves and Regent Honeyeaters – reinforcing the connections between caring for Country and Taronga’s wildlife conservation.
If you look carefully you will see:
  • a canoe, a fishing line and a fish – interpreting Cammeraigal salwater culture
  • a Red-necked Wallaby and a Cammeraigal blade – acknowledging traditional connections to Country; and
  • a goanna, angophora leaves and Regent Honeyeaters – reinforcing the connections between caring for Country and Taronga’s wildlife conservation

Once you walk through the entry, with its colourful multimedia Welcome Arch, there is more to explore.

Next to the heritage Main Entrance building there are two sets of panels. One celebrates Heroes of Conservation – this one will be updated occasionally, currently it profiles a couple of Taronga’s fabulous volunteers. The other reminds us of the history of the Zoo and breadth of conservation activity that Taronga gets involved in.

Artwork at the new visitor plaza
A unique artwork representing one adult and one young Jabiru. The work is by artist Janice Murray from Melville Island, off the northwest coast of the Northern Territory.

Closer to the wetlands there are two more unique artworks.

The first is Jipiyontongi, representing one adult and one young Jabiru. The work is by artist Janice Murray from Melville Island, off the northwest coast of the Northern Territory.

The second is woreminner loonner (bush black woman), it is a metal casting of a Tasmanian Devil made from bull kelp. Vicki West, a Tasmanian Aboriginal artist, collaborated on this work with Julie Squires. Soon after it was made the original bull kelp devil was accepted as an entrant into the 2011 Telstra Art Award.

Together these sculptures highlight connections between Aboriginal cultural practice and the Taronga’s wildlife conservation work. Make sure you have a good look and feel of these beautiful works next time you visit and read the panels to find out more.