On the Couch with Emily McDaniel

Emily McDaniel AAR On the CouchWho is Emily McDaniel?
I’m a Wiradjuri woman, from the Kalari (Lachlan River) clan in central New South Wales, living on Dharug (Liverpool) land, working on Eora (Sydney) country. I curate, educate and write because I’m passionate about storytelling and facilitating conversations.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Every now and again I think I’d like to do a career switch and work with animals. But then I snap out of it and realise there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.

Who inspires you and why?
I am continually inspired by senior artists who continue and share cultural practices that respond to their lived experiences, such as Steven Russell, Phyllis Stewart and Esme Timbery.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would like people to be mindful of the Indigenous histories, stories and memories that are embedded in the places we call home. To me, that’s the key to living sustainably, respectfully and consciously in Australia.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I haven’t been on many holidays of late. I usually extend my work trips by a day or two and do something that makes it feel like a holiday. Last year at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, I took day trip out to the Great Barrier Reef.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I would take them on a walk at Dobroyd Head, on the shoreline of Warrane (Sydney Harbour) or Jibbon walking track in Bundeena. There’s something really special going for a bushwalk in Sydney and stumbling across a midden or rock engraving.

What are you currently reading?
Hidden in Plain View by Paul Irish, I’m just a few pages in. It’s about the presence, resilience and continuity of Aboriginal peoples from coastal Sydney, despite their omittance from Australian history.

What are you currently listening to?
Kita Alexander’s EP Hotel on repeat.

Happiness is?
An inbox of emails that have all been read.

What does the future hold for you?
A continuation of 2017 – projects, exhibitions, ideas, deadlines and adrenaline. It’s a cycle I’m learning to love.

Emily has provided the concept and curation of Four Thousand Fish – a large scale art installation to celebrate Cammeraygal fisherwoman, Barangaroo, as part of the 2018 Sydney Festival at Barangaroo Reserve until 28 January. For more information, visit: www.sydneyfestival.org.au for details.

Image: Emily McDaniel (supplied)