The stunning Crown Sydney building is one of the newest additions to this year’s Vivid Sydney light installation lineup.
The building will take centre-stage in the Our Connected City visual spectacle. From the pinnacle, there will be 36 light beams shining from the roof. The work, created by Mandylights, an Australian lighting design firm also created installations for all 21 buildings across the Sydney CBD and Sydney Harbour Bridge involved in the exhibit.
But Crown Sydney will also host a special outdoor gallery featuring artworks from First Nations students in partnership with Carriageworks, Blacktown Arts and the Solid Ground Program. The Barangaroo waterfront will be transformed into the Wulugul Walk during this year’s Vivid celebrations. The 160 metre walk-through experience for pedestrians will bring to life the works of students from Blacktown and Redfern.
Crown Sydney CEO and Crown Resorts Group Head of Hospitality, Mr Simon McGrath said providing a vehicle for young First Nations artists was not only important due to Crown’s support of these programs, but also appropriate considering Barangaroo’s significance for New South Wales’ Aboriginal communities.
“The importance of connecting with and celebrating Aboriginal heritage is the driving force behind our 2022 Vivid Sydney installation. Honouring the heritage of Barangaroo was vital to us, so this partnership made complete sense. We have been proud supporters of these incredible programs through our work with the Foundation, so we are delighted that Crown Sydney can provide a platform for First Nations students to showcase their talent not only to Sydney but the world,” Mr McGrath said.
“At Crown we have a long history of supporting programs that proactively create pathways for Indigenous Australians whether it be through our support of these OFFICIAL fantastic programs with Solid Ground or our own Indigenous Employment Program which celebrated ten years and 1,000 graduates just a few years ago.”
Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Tourism and Sport, and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said Crown Sydney’s activation, The Gallery, will be a Festival highlight. “Vivid Sydney shines a bright spotlight on the artistic talent we have in NSW and it is so exciting to see young indigenous artists at the forefront, telling their stories and featured in such an iconic location,” Mr Ayres said.
“The Barangaroo redevelopment is crucial in creating jobs, attracting investment, driving the visitor economy and giving Sydney a world-class new waterfront development. This area has been given a new lease of life and is a must-see for visitors and those attending Vivid Sydney.
Explore sits down with 18-year-old Coda Ridley, who is part of the Goreng Goreng clan and will be one of the exhibitors at this year’s Vivid festival.
How did you get into art? What inspired you?
I’ve been doing it my whole life really. My parents would give me paper from ten months old, and I would just scribble for hours and continued to grow and improve from there.
Do you have any favourite artists? International and local?
I liked my parents’ own art. They would sometimes draw pieces and I would really like them and be inspired. Also, I looked at things around me to draw inspiration and I would think “that’s cool “and I would paint it.
Do you have any favourite galleries in Australia or overseas?
I enjoy looking at all sorts of art. You can see art in everything if you look close enough. You can look at something and turn it into art, even the most mundane looking object, you can make it look beautiful. For example, I really liked Ariel from The Little Mermaid when I was younger and drew her a lot. I drew mermaids a lot when I was 3 or 4.
What inspired your artwork?
A lot of it is inspired by Indigenous art and my culture, as well as just stuff around me. For example, if I saw a sunset that I liked, I would create a painting that had a sunset in it or based on a sunset with some of my own touches added to it.
One of my teachers in school guided me to read more about Aboriginal art and I remember one of the lines said that in European culture generally they look at the sky and see the stars to make pictures as a constellation but in Aboriginal culture they look between the stars to make a picture of the negative space. I found that helpful and made a lot of my art about that.
Can you describe your artwork?
All my artworks have a story behind them, some have a really in-depth story, some have a smaller story but they all have a little bit of a story behind them. Most of the work I am exhibiting in Vivid is really colourful, I like creating with colours. I’ve used a mix of different techniques as well, sometimes I used my fingers and I found that fun and easy, other times I would use brushes in longer or shorter strokes, it really depended on the painting and what I was going for.
What can people expect to see or learn from your artwork?
All the artworks have stories behind them, so I hope that people can understand the meaning behind the works and learn more about my culture from it.
What was your reaction when you found out you would be exhibiting during Vivid?
I was so happy! I remember my teacher at Solid Ground walked into my photography class and announced in front of my whole class that my work will be exhibited at Vivid and everyone started clapping. It was a really nice moment in class. It was the last thing I was expecting, just a normal day in school, it was so amazing. I told my mum when I got home, and she was very happy.
What do you want to do after finishing your studies?
I’d love to keep pursuing art. Growing up I never learnt any Aboriginal Dreamtime stories from my mob. What I’d love to do and would be so cool is to make Dreamtime stories from my mob, Goreng Goreng, into picture books of Aboriginal Dreamtime stories to help educate people more on Aboriginal culture because a lot of it has been lost. There’s been so much lost history, it’s incredible how much has been lost. These books would be family books that anyone can read and learn about Aboriginal culture.