During 2011-16 Michael Cohen produced several projects that endeavoured to address the lack of Aboriginal stories visible in the public domain of The Rocks – the landing place of Europeans in Australia. Dedicated ‘interpretive arts incubators’ were the generative process for these projects which include:
- Aunty’s Blackfella Bingo – at Corroboree Festival and The Rocks Village Bizarre: directed by Peta Strachan including performances by diverse local local aunties including Marlene Cummings (pictured below with Uncle Max Eulo).
- Tallawolodah: Language on Land Artists Colin Kinchela (below) and Paul Gazzola worked with SHFA Aboriginal Program Manager Marjorie Anderson (below) on this temporary project which ran for 4 years during NAIDOC month using the temporary renaming of street signs, and free distribution of t-shirts and bookmarks to re-inscribe local language on land. The project ultimately had a lasting and very significant impact with the permanent naming of part of the precinct “Tallawoladah Place” – the area immediately adjacent to where Europeans landed in Warrane (Sydney Cove) in 1788. The image above is of the Doonoch Dance company at the launch of this place-naming in 2016.
- The Rocks Boatshed was another project that emerged from a dedicated Aboriginal arts incubator (facilitated by artist Aroha Groves).
Project team members: Marjorie Anderson, Joe Hurst, Barbara McGrady, Colin Kinchela, Donna Ingram, Nardi Simpson, James Simon, Jasmine Sarin, Kyra Kum-sing, Jodi Chulburra, Rachel Perkins, Cathy Craigie, Anita Heiss, Andrea James, Alex Rosemont and Ben Bowham.
Winner of Interpretation Australia Award 2015