Latest From ACE

Dharug Voices: Billy Bain

July 8, 2024 10:00 am

Celebrating Dharug Culture during NAIDOC Week: Echoes of the Past, Embracing Stories of the Present

Arts and Cultural Exchange (ACE) is excited to share the next installment of the series which honours the rich cultural heritage of the Dharug people: Dharug Voices.

This edition features Billy Bain, a Wynne Prize and Sulman Prize finalist, unpacks and challenges presumptions of Australian identity. His work humorously critiques colonial iconographies and narratives. Born on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Bain explores his experiences as an Indigenous man in urban Australia, where his family’s presence has been systematically denied. His practice spans ceramic sculpture, oil painting, etchings, and installations, creating new narratives about being a young Indigenous person in Australia today.

Embark on a journey back to Country with Billy Bain as he revisits sacred Dharug lands with his mentor and renowned Dharug artist Leanne Tobin, including breathtaking sites like Yellow Rock Lookout and Yarramundi Reserve. These echoes of the past inform present storytelling, weaving together the layers of past, cultural resilience and with contemporary creativity.

Watch the latest Dharug Voices installment below!

Produced by: Akala Newman and Tannika Keaton
Videographer: Thanandon Films (Laurence Thanadon Creevy)
Sponsored by: RISE Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts


Dharug Voices is a groundbreaking project dedicated to digitally sharing Dharug stories from the mountains to the sea. By commissioning and supporting the development of new works by First Nations Dharug artists, we aim to preserve and celebrate their unique cultural narratives.


At the core of Dharug Voices is the profound belief that reconnecting with Country is essential for the vitality of First Nations art. This reconnection is not merely a journey across landscapes but a nourishing moment for all involved that invigorates artistic expression through truth-telling. We believe that the journey is often more profound than the destination.

Community-Centred Approach

An integral aspect of Dharug Voices is its commitment to working with the community. By collaborating with knowledge holders like Leanne Tobin, we ensure that our projects are deeply rooted in protocol and reciprocity. This community-focused approach allows us to:
  • Preserve: Ensuring that the stories and artworks we share are genuine reflections of Dharug culture.
  • Empower Artists: Providing artists with the opportunity to reconnect with their heritage, enriching their creative expression.
  • Cultural Exchange: Creating spaces where knowledge can be shared, and cultural understanding can be deepened both within and beyond the Dharug community.
  • Sustain Traditions: By engaging with community elders and knowledge holders, we help sustain and pass on important cultural traditions to future generations.

Celebrating NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. During this significant week, Dharug Voices will present a captivating showcase that brings to life the stories and journeys of Dharug artists.
  • Billy Bain’s Artistic Journey: Explore Billy’s powerful connection to Dharug Country through a digital exhibition and behind-the-scenes documentary produced by Thanandon Films.
  • Interactive Online Events: Participate in live Q&A sessions, virtual tours, and workshops led by Dharug knowledge holders like Leanne Tobin.
In-Person Exhibitions: Visit our galleries to experience the stunning artworks and join community gatherings for storytelling, music, and dance.

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