Unveiled in September 2023, Around the Curve was created to honour culture and Country, and its visually arresting design is a defining feature of the new precinct. Notably, Dennis worked closely with young First Nations people from the La Perouse community who have an ancestral connection to North Sydney. Together, they designed the installation's 3 components – a vibrant mural hand-painted on the historic blast wall, a meandering floor pattern that documents the passage of time, and perforated metal screens that dance with the play of light.
Dennis collaborators were Nessa Ingrey (Dharawal / Dunghutti), Tahlia Brown-Sait (Yuin / Gunaikurnai), Latarley Brown-Yeo (Yuin / Gunaikurnai), Wirrin Lowe (Dharawal / Ngarigo), and Jarnae Timbery (Dharawal / Wiradjuri). Further, Dennis painted the mural and floor pattern with his mother Vicki Golding, an artist and proud Biripi woman.
Design studio, Yerrabingin, and community organisation, the Gujaga Foundation, also worked with Dennis on the delivery of Around the Curve, which forms part of the Torpedo Factory Renewal Project. The Harbour Trust acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and Owners of North Sydney, including the site of Sub Base Platypus – the Cammeraygal people. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present, and emerging.
A collaboration between a visionary artist and cultural custodians, Around the Curve is a living canvas that showcases the remarkable synergy of creativity.
Nestled within the sandstone and saltwater Country of the Cammeraygal people, Around the Curve celebrates culture, community and the deep histories that are entwined with our coastline. The artwork is guided by Country and responds to the different uses of the Sub Base Platypus site through colour, line, and tone. A central wave connects the 3 elements of the artwork and mirrors the original sawtooth roof of the Torpedo Factory.
The installation also accents local plant life, knowledges and view lines of the coast, and it incorporates symbols – designed by Nessa Ingrey, Tahlia Brown-Sait, Latarley Brown-Yeo, Wirrin Lowe and Jarnae Timbery – that explore connections to Country. In contributing symbols that are rich in meaning, Dennis’ young collaborators have forged a shared memory with their ancestors. Their symbols also speak to the relationships individuals and communities have with the land that cradles them.
The wattle often symbolises resilience, renewal and the cyclical nature of life. The plant’s ability to regenerate and flourish after fire or disturbance resonates with the enduring strength of communities and their capacity to persevere through challenges. The wattle’s seasonal blossoming cycle aligns with the rhythms of nature and underscores the interdependence of all living things.
Shells frequently represent a deep affinity with the sea and the maritime environment. They embody the relationship between coastal communities and the ocean, serving as a reminder of the reliance on marine resources for sustenance, trade and cultural practices. Shells can symbolise the history of coastal living, as well as the traditional stories and legends that are intertwined with the sea.
The mullet often represents abundance, sustenance, and the interconnectedness of ecosystems. This particular fish is a staple food source in many coastal areas and its depiction here reflects the vital role it plays in nourishing communities. The symbol also pays homage to the traditional fishing practices that have sustained Indigenous peoples for generations, highlighting the deep relationship between humans and the natural world.
Rocks often embody a strong connection to the land, history, and spiritual beliefs. They symbolise the foundation of communities, serving as a reminder of the ancient ties that bind people to their ancestral territories.
Seaweed is often used to symbolise the significant role marine resources play in sustenance and cultural practices. Depictions of seaweed also frequently speak to the deep spiritual and cultural connection communities have with the ocean.
As well as being practical, dilly bags feature intricate designs and patterns that hold cultural significance. Indeed, the skill with each bag is crafted speaks to knowledge that has been passed down through generations. Traditionally woven using natural materials like fibres, leaves, and bark, dilly bags speak to the connection communities have with the environment.
The distinctive seed pods of the banksia plant symbolise the interconnectedness between flora and fauna as they support various forms of life, including birds and insects. Banksias are also associated with regeneration,
growth, and the cyclical nature of life in that they shed their old pods to make way for new ones.
Dennis Golding is a Kamilaroi / Gamilaraay artist from the north west of NSW and was born and raised on Gadigal land.
Through his mother's lineage, Dennis also has ancestral ties to Biripi Country along the mid-north coast of NSW. Working in a range of mixed media – including painting, video, photography and installation – he critiques the social, political and cultural representations of race and identity. His artistic and curatorial practice draws from his experiences living in urban environments and from his childhood memories. Through his work, he presents powerful representations of contemporary Aboriginal cultural identity that inform narratives of history and lived experiences.
Learn more about Sub Base Platypus, including the renewal works as well as its visitor experience and history.