Amanda Jane Reynolds

Amanda Jane Reynolds is a Guringai and Yuin cloak-maker, multimedia artist, curator and storyteller.

Amanda Jane Reynolds works with southeastern cultural traditions, knowledge, and histories. A cloak-maker, multimedia and ephemeral artist, curator and storyteller, her practice focuses on transforming public spaces of colonial dominance using collaborative and community empowerment models. Her family connections include Dharug and Yuin heritage, and she identifies primarily as Guringai, focusing on her responsibilities around sacred headlands and songlines in north Sydney, northern beaches and Sydney Harbour. 

Reynolds is hosting a NAIDOC program ‘Honouring our Grandmother Tree’ at the Australian Museum, 12 and 13 July 2024. She is currently an independent Aboriginal community representative for the NSW government Me-Mel (Goat Island) Transfer Committee. 

Reynolds has created a number of significant collaborative works including the Living Legacies (2021) for Unsettled exhibition at the Australian Museum, Truth in Fire with Tim Georgeson (2020) at the Australian Centre for Photography, Grandmother Lore (2019) at the Tarnanthi Festival, Ngawiya Maan (we take to give) with Djaadjawan Dancers and Illawarra Flame Trees (2018), and Barangaroo Ngangamay with Genevieve Grieves and others (2017). In 2010, Reynolds established Stella Stories, an independent curatorial and creative arts business specialising in community and heritage site collaborations. 

Reynolds has held curatorial positions in various cultural institutions, including the National Museum of Australia, Australian War Memorial, Australian Museum, and Museum Victoria. She authored Keeping Culture: Aboriginal Tasmania and has collaborated on projects such as Garrigarrang: Sea Country and the international multi-award-winning First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

In this interview, Reynolds reflects on her journey of working to support the Senior Cloak Teachers and Elders with the cultural reclamation of possum skin cloaks in community through Banmirra Arts and overcoming her own hesitation to create cloaks, ultimately bringing her confidence and a deep sense of connection to her cultural heritage.

Video production by Atypical 2024.

About the photo: Amanda invited her friend, collaborator and film mentor Justine Kerrigan to a very special area for her family and mob at Balls Head Reserve, overlooking Me-Mel (Goat Island) and Sydney Harbour, just a few blocks away from her beloved late great-grandmother’s home in North Sydney to be photographed among the winter wattles and Sydney Red Gums (Grandmother Trees). Amanda is wearing a cloak she made to honour her grandfathers and great grandfathers in 2021-22 and acknowledges Create NSW for Creative Koori funding support to work on the cloak. 

ID: A photo of Amanda Jane Reynolds wearing a long sleeve magenta purple top and possum cloak over her shoulder, a twig of wattle is nestled in the cloak. She is gazing out of frame and is standing surrounded by large gum trees.