Reappropriation of the Redfern Bower
To be constantly reminded of a death, of a riot, an injustice and a communities suffering has initiated the reappropriation of this public artwork using local resources and traditional and non-traditional techniques that reflect its heritage.
This work serves as a reminder of the 14th of February 2004, the day of the passing of TJ Hickey who was killed at the hands of the local command. TJ was rammed whilst on his bike by a police vehicle and impaled onto a fence within a two minute walk from here.
The public artwork given its structure, location and its immediacy to the police station and crime scene serves as a constant reminder of the impalement of a young man on a fence.
Whether or not the intention of the City of Sydney’s commissioned public artworks was to hurt and cause pain is irrelevant as it inevitably acts as a reminder of that day and what proceeded.
What directly proceeded was an incitement of violence owing to the murky circumstances around the death of TJ. Many questions still remain unanswered about the events leading up to, during and after the “police chase” that ended in the death of a young man who was a week shy of his 18th birthday.
The last nine years have been marred by silence from those who were involved. No evidence has been brought to light on whether it was a case of racial profiling, death in custody, gross misconduct or careless police investigation.
Today, from 9.30am members of TJ’s family and community march. They march for TJ, Redfern and every community who has suffered at the hands of police. They march for injustice.
The artworks plaque describes the artist’s Susan Milne and Greg Stonehouse’s intentions to create a contemporary sculpture that represents a bowerbird’s nest. To reappropriate the story of the “Redfern bower” we impaled nine lovehearts to remember TJ’s last day, his Valentine and a mother’s heartache.
Our work also incorporates other elements as an offering, in representation of the Bowerbird’s courting habits.
9 love hearts
9 dilly bags
9 love hearts
9 to represent the years he hasn’t come home
To make a statement in regards to TJ Hickey’s death has proven to be difficult within mainstream media platforms as they are partial to the misrepresentation of Redfern and the wider Aboriginal community. We urge you to utilise SOCIAL MEDIA in documenting what you have seen here today. Upload a photo and share with your online community.’
[The same sculpture was attacked in February 2011]