Public art

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

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 creative projects, we’re providing unexpected opportunities for discovery.

The Green Square public art strategy is supported 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 for people to enjoy.

Image: Cloud Nation by Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro.

“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

While I Live I Will Grow by Maria Fernanda Cardoso

While I Live I Will Grow is a living performative artwork in the new community and cultural precinct in Green Square. 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 ecological and social history of the site, 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 artwork simultaneously references this local history while looking forward to 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

Cloud Nation by Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro

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

Small-scale model elements 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 can engage with the artwork from different points, such as monoculars 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 transform found objects, such as cars, houses, Lego, army tanks and Ikea furniture into large-scale installations, sculptures and site specific works of art.

Working as a collaborative duo for over a decade, their work has been acquired by public and private collections, including The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney and The Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. Healy and Cordeiro are represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney.

High Water by Indigo Hanlee and Michael Thomas Hill

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

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

A complementary interface allows 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.

Indigo Hanlee and Michael Thomas Hill 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.

Stream by Kerrie Poliness

Stream is inspired by The Drying Green’s ongoing transformation. What was once a swamp and later became a dam for industry, will soon feature a wetland within a new park.

Like hand drawn lines, blue, magenta, green and orange coloured strokes will cascade over raised steps and be sketched into paths.

With concepts of flow at the heart of this artwork, the geometric lines will be a metaphor for the waves of immigration that this area experienced. Acknowledging the original custodians of the land, the Gadigal people, this artwork is also a reminder of the Irish, Chinese, Lebanese, Eastern European and later Vietnamese communities that settled in the area to work in the many factories, market gardens and foundries that once existed.

Stream pays homage to the flow, formation and sharing of knowledge, ideas and technologies that form the basis for contemporary societies.

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.

Fun Field artwork by Nuha Saad

Nuha Saad’s playful public artwork is designed to stimulate all five senses of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

Encouraging imaginative and narrative based activities for all who visit it, this artwork was integrated into the play equipment, paving and seating at Wulaba Park in collaboration with Sturt Noble Landscape Architects. A 3-storey tower featuring a giant slide, ropes, swings and tunnels completes an exciting play experience.

In keeping with Nuha’s ongoing research into “how our thoughts and behaviour are influenced by often unconscious reactions to spatial and colour stimuli”, Fun Field explores the positive and transformative power of the built environment and colour.

Nuha Saad is a Sydney-based artist working in the areas of installation, galleries and public art whose work involves playful investigations into how colour and form construct a sense of place and cultural identity.