HEAD PARTY



Head Party (2022) was commissioned by Sydney College of Art Gallery for ‘a park is not a forest’, curated by Salote Tawale.

Head Party (2022) reinterprets customs related to gawai ba’ak (which translates to head party in English), a welcoming ceremony that follows a headhunt. Headhunting is a traditional practice among Bidayǔh and other Indigenous peoples in Borneo, outlawed by the British in the 19th century.

Following the headhunt, a ceremony was held to invite the slain enemy into a long-lasting friendship and to appease the spirits of the dead so that they would safeguard the village longhouse. Drawing from her family's history as durian farmers, Baker replaces skulls with preserved durian and uses community archives, oral histories, and online resources to fill the gaps found in official archives. Creating part of the work in collaboration with her mother, she reimagines gawai ba’ak in a contemporary context to undo Western notions of death, enmity, friendship and warfare.




Head Party, 2022, installation detail, SCA Gallery, NSW. Photo by Document Photography.




Head Party, 2022, installation view, SCA Gallery, NSW. Photo by Document Photography.




Head Party, 2022, installation detail, SCA Gallery, NSW. Photo by Document Photography.




Head Party, 2022, installation detail, SCA Gallery, NSW. Photo by Document Photography.




Head Party, 2022, installation detail, SCA Gallery, NSW. Photo by Document Photography.




Head Party, 2022, installation detail, SCA Gallery, NSW. Photo by Document Photography.




Head Party, 2022, installation detail, SCA Gallery, NSW. Photo by Document Photography.





I live and work on the lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora nation.
This sovereign land was never ceded.
The land I live on always was and always will be Aboriginal land.