Hoardings around city construction sites will become works of art with everything from a dramatic panorama of Patagonian glaciers, colourful oversized birds of Australia, through to vegetables sculpted into everyday objects. To make streets more beautiful while construction is underway, the City of Sydney is making designs by 10 Australian artists, illustrators and photographers available to property developers to use as temporary hoardings.
The designs, which have been selected from more than 520 submissions from across Australia, will be featured in an online ‘artwork bank’ that developers can access free of charge. Each artist has been paid a licence fee that allows their design to be reproduced on hoardings up to 20 times over the next two years.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said replacing old poster-covered hoardings with inspired, creative works would lift the mood on city streets. “This program will bring the temporary hoardings around building sites to life, making them works of art in their own right,” said the Lord Mayor. “Over the next few years, the centre of Sydney will experience unprecedented redevelopment, from Central Station in the south to Barangaroo in the north.
“While work is underway, we want to make sure our public spaces are as attractive and welcoming as possible for the 1.2 million people who live, work or visit the city every day. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of Australia’s most talented artists, whose work will be seen by thousands of people.”
The designs include: Sculptures of everyday objects such as trees and teddy bears, made from fruit and vegetable scraps and off-cuts that would otherwise go to waste, by Sydney designer and Instagrammer Danling Xiao; and a bold, abstract interpretation of the iconic Sydney Opera House by emerging artist Emily Crockford from Studio A, an organisation that provides support for artists living with intellectual disability.
A series of photographs by Adelaide artist Cynthia Schwertsik that contrasts the artistic beauty of the humble shopping bag with the impact of plastic pollution on our oceans and waterways; and colourful illustrations of a variety of critically endangered, vulnerable and common native Australian birds, including galahs, pelicans and black cockatoos, by conservation-inspired illustrators Egg Picnic.
A stunning photographic panorama made from nearly 50 individual shots of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, South America, by Sydney photographer and glacier enthusiast, Timothy Harland; and a quirky collage of real-life lost animal signs from across Sydney by Edwin Budhi, an emerging filmmaker and photographer whose projects span documentary, visual journalism and music videos.
A colourful mural depicting abstract characters building their own unique worlds by Captain Pipe, a UK-born, Sydney-based artist who works across painting, drawing and animation; and a series of coloured sketches of traditional Indigenous stone tools found across NSW by artist and archaeologist Fiona Currey, originally created for the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
A boldly coloured, abstract interpretation of an obstacle course, representing an individual’s journey navigating the city, by Elliot Foulkes, a designer who works with artist-run initiatives in the inner city; and a tongue-in-cheek collection of historical images of Sydney with everyday contemporary objects Photoshopped in by Adelaide photographer, designer and installation artist Rachel Harris.
Camila De Gregorio, co-founder of Egg Picnic, said the program was a great opportunity to showcase works that are relatable and involve the entire community. “Our Birds of Australia work was inspired by the uniqueness and ecological power of Australian birds and their role in shaping our landscape. Australian birds are more crucial to the pollination and distribution of plants here than anywhere else on the planet,” said Camila.
“I hope it helps change our understanding of nature, because to protect the environment we must first undergo a cultural transformation. Our aim is to reconnect an increasingly disconnected human population with the environment of the planet that we not only come from, but also rely on. I hope our hoarding inspires people and sparks their creativity to actively participate in shaping a better future.”
Artist Rachel Harris said her work, Double-take, is designed to encourage people to view it multiple times. “When I heard that the City of Sydney was inviting artists to have their work featured on building site hoardings, I was so impressed and delighted by the initiative and I really wanted to be part of it,” said Rachel.
“I like to make work that questions our perceptions and makes us look closer at our environs – Double-take is designed to be playful and to engage people, to make them think. It’s a real juxtaposition of yesteryear with life today.”
The program was first proposed in the Creative City cultural policy in 2014 as one of many ideas to bring culture and creativity out of traditional cultural institutions and into the public domain. It also aligns with the City’s recently updated hoardings and scaffolding guidelines, which aim to reduce visual clutter and provide opportunities for public art and creative expression on the city’s streets.
For more information, visit: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au for details.
Image: Egg Picnic’s Birds of Australia on Kent Street, Sydney (supplied)