Public art

The City is commissioning a range of stunning new public artworks that will shape the personality and character of Green Square.

These permanent and temporary art works will explore the historical, cultural and ecological elements of the area.

By animating places like the new Green Square plaza with temporary creative projects, we’re encouraging curiosity and providing unexpected opportunities for discovery.

The Green Square public art strategy is backed by $4 million of City funding and presents an exciting opportunity to create unique artworks that will become part of the fabric of our parks, squares and public spaces.

Image: Concept for Cloud Nation by Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro. Artist impression (not to scale) by Konrad Hartmann and Event Engineering courtesy of the artists and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery. Base image by Luxigon courtesy of Stewart Hollenstein and Stewart Architecture.

“We want to create a good public life for the people who live in Green Square not just a good private life.” Amanda Sharrad, Curatorial Advisor


Cloud Nation by Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro

A repurposed vintage aircraft will be suspended inside the library with its surface transformed into a meticulously crafted miniature world.

Small-scale model elements will reference themes of migration and fantasy on the Beechcraft Travel Air, recalling the ficitional island of Laputa from Jonathon Swift’s classic novel Gulliver’s Travels. Laputa is a flying island inhabited by people with a love of learning and culture.

People will be able to engage with the artwork from different points, such as binoculars provided in the plaza to view the plane in close detail from outside the library.

Cloud Nation is a playful, enchanting and imaginative artwork referencing multiple themes including fictional narratives, migration and the cultural exchange made possible by air travel. It takes the notion of the inner homeland people carry within, turning it into a fantastic vision.

Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro’s work has been included in group exhibitions across Europe, Asia, New Zealand, UK and US. Their public collections include The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, MCA in Sydney, AGNSW and GOMA in Queensland.

High Water by Michael Thomas Hill and Indigo Hanlee from Lightwell

Local weather patterns and tidal information will be displayed in abstract watercolours on high resolution LED screens in the public plaza outside the library.

Integrated sensors and live data feeds will be digitally coded to animate the sequence of vivid watercolours. Watery blues at the tower base will rise and fall with the tidal patterns of the hour. The skies above will shift in pattern and colour depending on the sun’s position, temperature and wind directions.

A complementary interface will allow visitors to understand the data, colours and patterns in real time and see visual summaries of local environmental conditions over the day, week and year.

Michael Thomas Hill and Indigo Hanlee create digital media for public spaces. Working as part of the Sydney-based design studio Lightwell, they use new technologies to interpret the physical world.

While I Live I Will Grow by Maria Fernanda Cardoso

While I Live I Will Grow is a living performative artwork on the site of the former South Sydney Hospital. Consisting of several Queensland bottle trees (Brachychiton rupestris) and a double layered spiral sandstone sculpture, this permanent public artwork will grow with the community.

As growing and living organisms, these sculptural bottle trees double their girth each year. Inspired by the combined histories of water and the hospital as a place of births in the community, this artwork is a reminder of how the series of wetlands native to the area were drained to make way for development and industry, leading to drought and flooding. The bottle trees signify this local history and the water management strategies that are a key aspect of the Green Square renewal project

Maria Fernanda Cardoso is a Sydney-based Colombian-born artist. She’s fascinated with botanical and animal life and is known for her use of unconventional materials.

“What could be more visible than the shaped trunk of a bottle tree? They expand and contract in times of flood or drought and they never seem stressed. This species has developed a very elegant Australian water management strategy.” Maria Fernanda Cardoso “Humans tend to think ageing is bad but trees don’t think like that. They never stop growing. The more mature they are, the more beautiful they become.” Maria Fernanda Cardoso

Stream by Kerrie Poliness

Stream is inspired by the Drying Green’s history with water. The area was transformed from a swamp into a dam for industry and is now returning to being a wetland within a new park.

A series of intersecting glass lines will form a flexible diamond structure flowing across the Drying Green. Blue, magenta, green and orange lines will meander through central paths and over raised benches suggesting cascading water.

These waves are also a metaphor for the phases of immigration that have passed through this place. Irish, Chinese, Lebanese, Eastern European and later Vietnamese communities have settled here seeking work in the many factories, market gardens and foundries.

Stream also evokes the flow and collection of knowledge, the formation of ideas and the interlinking layers of history.

Kerrie Poliness is a Melbourne-based artist. Her practice includes instructional wall and field drawings and research-based projects investigating the natural and social histories of place.

Wulaba Park artwork by Nuha Saad

Creating an artwork that embodies the feeling of the local area, Nuha Saad’s public work is designed to enhance imaginative and narrative based play.

The artwork integrated into the play equipment, paving and seating at Wulaba Park. A 3-storey tower featuring a giant slide, ropes, swings and tunnels completes the exciting play experience.

Nuha believes in the positive and transformative power of colour. She’s fascinated by the possibilities colour combinations present and our immediate emotional responses to colour.

Nuha Saad is a Sydney-based artist whose work involves playful investigations into colour and form combining ready-made objects and colour in inventive ways.