Yaegl artist Frances Belle Parker's Mapping Biirrinba (Clarence River) is projected on the famous sails of the Sydney Opera House.
Yaegl artist Frances Belle Parker's Mapping Biirrinba (Clarence River) is projected on the famous sails of the Sydney Opera House. Daniel Boud

Clarence River makes it debut on Sydney Harbour

THE tributaries of the Clarence River reached heights and distances never thought possible thanks to the deft touch of Yaegl artist Frances Belle Parker.

Frances' work Mapping Biirrinba (Clarence River) was projected onto the iconic Opera House Sails over the weekend as part of Sydney's Vivid Festival.

The colourful work with her distinctive topographical markings represents her birthplace and the area she practices in.

Frances said it was "awe inspiring” to see Biirrinba/the mighty Clarence featured on the sails of the Opera House.

"To be able to see both the river and Ulgundahi Island up there was surreal, but it also gave me a sense of acknowledgement that Australia always was and always will be Aboriginal land,” Frances said. 

"Knowing that I am sharing my knowledge and art as a Yaegl woman with such a huge audience makes me realise and understand that I'm not doing it just for me but for all Yaegl people."

The seven-minute animation featuring Frances's work is titled Badu Gili (meaning 'water light') and also showcases the work of four other eminent First Nations artists from across Australia and the Torres Strait Island.

Curated by the Opera House's Head of First Nations Programming and Bundjalung woman Rhoda Roberts AO, it will be screened on the iconic building's famous sails every evening from sunset year-round in celebration of the rich history and contemporary vibrancy of Australia's First Nations culture.



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