Building painted in fluorescent pink, black and blue geometric diamonds, with the words ‘Always was, always will be‘ is incorporated across the frontage
Building painted in fluorescent pink, black and blue geometric diamonds, with the words ‘Always was, always will be‘ is incorporated across the frontage
Busy intersection at Oxford Street with a brightly painted building visible in the background

‘Always was always will be’ highlighted the ongoing claim of the Gadigal people to their land.

Artist: Reko Rennie 
This artwork was temporary and is no longer at this location.

Artwork description

Always was, always will be by Reko Rennie was a fascinating mix of traditional imagery and contemporary techniques. This work featured geometric diamonds, referencing the artist’s associations to north-western NSW and the traditional markings of the Kamilaroi people. With Always was, always will be Rennie brought this representation into a very public forum that due to its diurnal patterns allowed it to be seen by a broad range of people.

Fluorescent paints in pink, black and blue were applied to the T2 building at 1–5 Flinders Street, a former Commonwealth Bank built in 1910. The scale, bold design and vibrant colours overwhelmed the architecture of the building and dominated Taylor Square.

On the front of the building façade neon text read ‘Always was, always will be’. As a temporary work in this urban context the meaning was clear – this was Gadigal country and always will be Gadigal.

Rennie collaborated with Cracknell and Lonergan Architects to realise the artwork in this public context and at this large scale.

“In this work, I used the geometric diamonds, referencing my associations to north-western New South Wales and the traditional markings of the Kamilaroi people.”

– Reko Rennie, 2012


Reko Rennie is a Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay/Gummaroi man, born in Melbourne. Rennie received no formal artistic training, but as a teenager he discovered graffiti, which would become an all-consuming passion. He quickly began producing original art on the streets of Melbourne and matured into an interrogative and highly innovative artist.

Through his art, Rennie explores what it means to be an urban Aboriginal in contemporary Australian society. His art and installations continually explore issues of identity, race, law and justice, land rights, stolen generations and other issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Drawing inspiration from his Aboriginal heritage, he recreates traditional images in a contemporary context using neon, projection, installation and spray paint.

Streetware public art program

Beginning in 2010, the Streetware program called for artists to bring a new perspective to public places through temporary street art.

Underpinned by a process that addressed the needs of building owners, this program provided opportunities and alternative spaces for local and emerging artists to legally present their work and extend it physically and conceptually.

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