In response to the City Art Public Art Strategy, the City Centre Public Art Plan will see a number of artworks on public display following the selection of three international artists’ projects.
Tokyo-based architect and artist Junya Ishigami’s ‘Cloud Arch’ will rise outside Sydney’s Town Hall, acting as a gateway to the new, pedestrian-friendly George Street. To the city’s south in Belmore Park, opposite Central station, the seemingly irreverent public artwork ‘Pavilion’, by Egyptian-Australian artist Hany Armanious, will highlight the design success of the ubiquitous, ready-made milk crate.
And, in the northern end of the city – on Bridge, Grosvenor and Kent streets –Emin’s ‘The Distance of Your Heart’, a series of gorgeous, handmade bronze birds, will be installed.
Emin states, “I have always drawn birds, I have always been interested in ornithology, and I want something that makes people feel good when they walk down the street – something spiritual and poetic.”
The delicate birds, intended to delight young and old alike, form a stark contrast to the work that made Emin an international star. Emin has worked in a broad range of media including prints, painting, film, photography and neon to communicate messages that most found confrontational.
Emin acknowledges the ‘shocking’ reaction to her work, saying, “I suppose that ‘shock’ is one element of my work which comes from what I was doing in the ’90s, but now most of that work is not shocking at all.”Her neon works first appeared in the realm of ‘shock’. However, the medium has now been embraced, allowing one of her pieces to be exhibited inside the Liverpool Cathedral, London.
In fact, one could say Emin has cleared a path to downright respectability, having been appointed a Professor of Drawing at the London Royal Academy of Arts, and appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the arts. She now travels the world, lecturing, creating art and is currently developing a library in Uganda.
No stranger to the Harbour City, Emin notes, “I have been visiting Australia – and Sydney specifically – since 2003. I am very familiar with the galleries, the artists and the museums. I think it is lively and creative.”
As for why she wants to place birds along the crowded streets of the city centre, Emin explains that it comes down to a deep love of nature; “I really love nature – I look for it everywhere. It’s really magical when I see animals in cities – foxes, squirrels, and birds, in particular. It reminds me that I am human.”