Tom Nicholson’sChimney in store (Towards a monument to Batman’s Treaty)2021 marks the culmination of the artist’s long-term public art projectTowards a monument to Batman’s Treaty, the project that begins with the conflicted meanings associated with Melbourne’s first European chimney, built by William Buckley for John Batman, and with the counter-narratives that assemble around that form.
The project has continued to evolve through a framework of projects and collaborators, including exhibitions and education programs at ACCA, TarraWarra Museum of Art, the Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture, as well as discussions with City of Melbourne and Creative Victoria.
Critical to its development has been dialogues with Senior Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin (over a ten-year period), Professor Tony Birch, and artist Jonathan Jones, as well as more recent dialogues with N’arweet Carolyn Briggs (Chair, Boonwurrung Foundation) and Aunty Melinda Kennedy (Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation).
Accompanying the brick and grass mound is an artist’s book that includes all of the texts for plaques that would inscribe the disinterred material for a future monument to Batman’s Treaty. Designed by Ziga Testen studio, the plaque fonts are evidence of a complete census of the plaque typographies of inner Melbourne (and in this sense constitute a meditation on the entirety of the city’s monumental complex).