Peace Justice and Unity

Related to City Art
Installed 1984
Three walls on a building are painted with murals depicting motifs of peace. The mural is several stories high, and in front of the painted building is another ornate brick building. In the background are many skycrapers.
A mural on the outside of a building depicting black and white hands reaching toward each other in front of a pattern of doves.
A mural on the outside wall of a building depicting a dove holding an olive branch in its beak in front of a falling bomb.

Three murals on Pilgrim House share themes of peace.

Artist: Public Art Squad
“Prominent art works like Peace Justice and Unity help shape the character of the city and are often viewed by the public with great affection. There is a genuine recognition of the importance of this mural in the community and I believe the desire to have it reinstated was wide.”

– David Humphries

Artwork description

Peace Justice and Unity is a series of large murals painted high on the walls of the historic Pilgrim House in the city centre.

The artwork consists of 3 panels that share the theme of peace. The first shows a flying white dove. The middle panel depicts a pair of bound hands, with a third hand reaching down to break the rope with a feather. The final panel shows black and white hands reaching out to each other, an image that strongly echoes Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam.

All 3 murals are painted against pale backgrounds, with a repeating pattern of pale blue dove silhouettes.

The artwork was funded by the Division of Cultural Activities, City of Sydney and Pitt Street Uniting Church, with donations from many businesses and individual supporters.

The murals’ peace theme was developed during a series of workshops chaired by Rev Dorothy McMahon, the minister of Pitt Street Uniting Church.

The workshops involved the artists of Public Art Squad, David Humphries, Rodney Monk and Ashley Taylor, and representatives from the Church Council, Pitt Street Uniting Church, Amnesty International, Freedom from Hunger, Community Aid Abroad and The Tea Co-op.

These communities were heavily involved during the concept development and design of the artwork, which was installed in 1984. But due to the danger of working from scaffolding so high off the ground, members of the community did not participate in painting the murals.

In 2001, 17 years after the murals were painted, they were covered during a refurbishment of Pilgrim House. Two years later Public Art Squad started a campaign to reinstate them. The campaign gained support from the NSW Premier and the Lord Mayor of Sydney as well as widespread public support. In 2003 the murals were repainted by the original artists.


David Humphries is the director of Public Art Squad, a company that specialises in creating artwork for public places.

The company has completed some of Australia’s most memorable large-scale public and commercial commissions.

Humphries works internationally with architects, interior designers, communities, developers and multinationals. His portfolio includes large murals, sculptures and marble/terrazzo installations.

Ashley Taylor has worked with Public Art Squad on a number of iconic Sydney murals.

Get arts and culture updates from City of Sydney News.