Taking stories as old as time to a contemporary setting in the heart of Sydney | Kanebridge News
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Taking stories as old as time to a contemporary setting in the heart of Sydney

It’s a part of Sydney traditionally associated with Australia’s colonial past, but a cultural shift signals a more layered approach to history through public art

By Robyn Willis
Mon, Jun 5, 2023 10:11amGrey Clock 3 min

If Sydney is Australia’s premier destination, then Circular Quay is the gateway to the Emerald City. Best known for its access to the harbour, with the Sydney Opera House on one peninsular and the sandstone terraces of The Rocks on the other, it’s a hotspot for tourists and history buffs alike.

Unless, of course, your notion of history extends beyond the past 250 years.

In recent years, there’s been a move to reflect a more layered notion of the past that better reflects First Nations’ stories – a history that stretches back thousands of years. As this part of the city undergoes yet another renewal process, developers have taken the opportunity to engage with Indigenous artists to integrate stories that are thousands of years old into some of the newest buildings.

The latest edition are art installations that form part of Sydney Place, a new casual dining precinct connecting Pitt and George Streets near Circular Quay.

Following on from his success at the Venice Biennale, Indigenous artist Daniel Boyd was invited to create an interactive art installation as an entry point to the dining space at Sydney Place. Working with architect David Adjaye, Boyd has designed a soaring steel canopy on the George Street frontage featuring a roof punctuated with round holes to reflect the constellations of the night sky.

The art installation by Daniel Boyd reflects the night sky

The full extent of Indigenous understanding of astronomy is only just beginning to be revealed but the artwork stands as a reminder that even in the centre of the CBD, there are larger forces at play.

“I was trying to create a building and space that wasn’t static and trying to use light to take the building into motion,” Boyd said. “It’s macro and micro at the same time, understanding that point in time and space.”  

Boyd said the notion of layering histories over such a built-up site was one to be welcomed.

“It’s about acknowledging the history of the site in a more inclusive and equitable way,” Boyd said. “These opportunities to open spaces give First Nations people the chance to feel comfortable. 

“They don’t have to grapple with the language of the built environment because it’s an open space that invites layers of association.”

Kamilaroi man Dennis Golding and fellow artist Louise Zhang also created work for Sydney Place in a collaboration using neon lights combined with traditional Chinese and Indigenous motifs.

Golding said both he and Zhang drew on their family experiences as migrants – Zhang’s from China and Golding’s from Gamilaroi and Biripi country – to create an artwork in the heart of Sydney.

This artwork in Sydney Place is a collaboration between Dennis Golding and Louise Zhang

“My family moved to Redfern for affordable housing, work opportunities and education and that’s where that community grew from the late 60s as families moved into the city,” Golding said. “We all worked on the rails. It’s that shared experience of being from somewhere else and coming to Sydney for work.”

The latest works in Sydney Place are part of the growing Indigenous art presence, which includes five integrated artworks Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi man Jonathan Jones created for the nearby Quay Quarter Lanes redevelopment, as well as the bara, or fish hook sculpture, by Judy Watson on the Tarpeian Precinct Lawn on the edge of the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Tarpeian Way, Royal Botanic Gardens features bara by Judy Watson. This public artwork is part of the Eora Journey. Photo: Chris Southwood/City of Sydney

Curated by Hetti Perkins, bara is part of City of Sydney’s Eora Journey, and is designed to offer greater recognition of Indigenous culture and heritage.

It follows an international review of cultural interpretation undertaken by Perkins and architect Julie Cracknell in 2010. Public art is one of four components of the Eora Journey, which also includes access to education and employment and training opportunities.



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The United Arab Emirates is improving its electric vehicle infrastructure with a new government-owned EV charging network.

Wed, May 22, 2024 2 min

The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MoEI) alongside Etihad Water and Electricity (Etihad WE) have collaborated to form UAEV, a new joint venture aimed at strengthening the electric vehicle (EV) charging framework throughout the UAE. This venture is the first EV charging network entirely owned by the government, aimed at broadening access to EV charging facilities across the country.

The project seeks to revolutionize the UAE’s transport sector by enabling broader adoption of EVs via a robust and widespread charging infrastructure. This initiative is expected to strengthen communities, generate employment, and promote eco-friendly transportation options.

Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said: “UAEV embodies the power of partnership between government and industry, and aims to provide vital electric vehicle infrastructure to boost adoption of EVs, energize communities, and unleash the economic potential of the UAE.

“We hope that this partnership will further accelerate the transition to cleaner transportation and significantly reduce emissions from the transportation sector, thereby helping to bring our Net Zero 2050 Strategy within reach.”

Sharif Al Olama, who has been appointed Chairman of UAEV, said: “In 2023, we saw a rise in EV adoption in the UAE. By expanding our EV infrastructure, we ensure the country is equipped to support those who have already purchased an EV and make the prospect of switching to EV attractive.

“Together, MoEI and Etihad WE form a powerful force that can help future-proof the UAE and achieve the twin objectives of economic growth and climate action, which underpin UAEV.”

The UAEV is also a perfect platform for Etihad WE, the largest employer in the Northern Emirates and a company with a customer base of over 2 million households, to use its core competency and enhance its product offering.

Yousif Ahmed Al Ali, CEO of Etihad Water and Electricity and Board Member of UAEV, explained: “It is part of a deliberate strategy to diversify our operations, using the knowledge and experience acquired from our role as long-standing pioneers in the energy sector, to explore new products, services, projects, and investments which will benefit our customers.

“UAEV charging infrastructure will contribute to the modernization of the UAE’s transport network, help energize communities by creating new jobs, and empower our customers to make more sustainable choices.”

 

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