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Yanangunla, barayangunla mari bula
Let’s move together and sing out loud
Naawala, mimugurubuni, yanagn un, ngyinarigai gana manuwi
Look, do not close your eyes, we walk together, with feet on fire

~ Joel Davison from ‘The Wounded Brave

Cookaroo Flow celebrates the poetry created by First Nations students from Sydney and the Northern Territory during Poetry in First Languages workshops in December. The Gardens are located on Gadigal Country, and Cookaroo is the Gadigal name for the area.

Created by Allan Giddy, Cookaroo Flow features Gadigal poems in language, embedding them in two key water sites in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney from 1 December 2018 to 28 February 2019. The poems were written and recorded during November workshops with Gadigal Language Custodian Joel Davison and Gunai poet Kirli Saunders. Cookaroo Flow is a participatory, site- and culture-responsive audio installation, which uses the natural flow of water to convey the voices of First Nations children, speaking words that they have written in their local languages.

“The children’s words, recorded and edited into a soundscape, will be ‘released’ into the water to flow to the oceans.” ~ Allan Giddy

How does it work?

This work is invisible to passers by, but hold one end of a stick against your ear and the other in the water to listen to the new poetry created in workshops from Poetry in First Languages.


5 November 2018
Poetry in First Languages: Gadigal workshops
Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

First Nations students from Sydney and the Northern Territory took part in Poetry in First Languages workshops on Gadigal country. These workshops, created in partnership with Red Room Poetry, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Art Gallery of NSW and NASCA explored language, visual arts, bush tucker, medicine and botanicals and traditional Indigenous games.

Read the poems 


1 December 2018 - 28 February 2019
Cookaroo Flow art installation
Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Visit the installation in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.


About Allan Giddy

New Zealand-born sculptor Allan Giddy lives and works in Sydney, Australia. He is the Director of The Environmental Research Initiative for Art at UNSW A&D.

Allan’s pioneering use of alternative energy systems and light in ‘time-based sculpture’ began in 1992. Over time his practice has expanded into the public domain, specifically public sited ‘active sculpture’ aimed at the reinvigoration of public spaces.
He is one of Australia’s foremost proponents of sustainable energy systems, electronic interconnectivity and interactivity embedded in the physical art object.

His work has been shown in ISEA and TISEA (International Symposia on Electronic Art), at the Tate Modern, and numerous other venues internationally, from Canada and Finland to Greece, Vietnam and Bulgaria. In recent years he has completed a number of large public commissions, in Australia, China, Ireland, Germany the UK and New Zealand.

Read more

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