Bundanon Tapestry

Competition: Tapestry Design Prize for Architects (TDPA) 2023
Australian Tapestry Workshop
Location: Bundanon Art Museum
Digital Location: TBC
Phase: Submitted

Time as Edifice

For our entry into the 2023 Tapestry Design Prize for Architects, Heliotope partnered with emerging artist Alison van den Berg, from lutruwita  | Tasmania where she practices from lunawani  | Bruny Island. Her art practice is immersed in the ever-changing landscapes that surround her; examining natural environments from contemporary viewpoints.

We acknowledge the thousands of years of weaving practice and tradition that has occurred on the site, the traditional Country of the Dharawal and Dhurga language groups and continues to this day.

Arthur Boyd’s own floor to ceiling Reception Hall Tapestry at Parliament House in Canberra acts to dissolve the architectural construct of this highly formal ceremonial space and transport occupants beyond the confines of the building to immerse them deep into this place, south eastern Australia.

Our aim, in developing a tapestry to hang in the recently completed Bundanon Art Museum by Kerstin Thompson Architects was to employ a similar device, rendering the existing wall of the underground gallery as a portal to deep time, plotted as it is layer upon layer in the same iconic Nowra Sandstone strata that stretches from Bundanon to the Blue Mountains and characterises so much of the contemporary city of Sydney; entwined with the many generations of First Peoples who inhabited and sang with this stone for millennia. The geological strata reveal primordial upheavals, shifting shorelines, and evolving ecologies. It makes visible the incomprehensible depth of these relationships, with ancient species of vegetation both found fossilized in the stone and living strong within Shoalhaven bioregions today.

The primary detail of the tapestry occurs at eye level – an anthropocentric perspective – and becomes fainter and more unfocussed as the layering moves higher and further away from the viewer, lost to the Western eye.

[FIG 1] Bundanon Tapestry

[FIG 2] Bundanon Tapestry Detail

[FIG 3] Bundanon Tapestry in situ render