After much anticipation – and nine months of work – artist Reko Rennie’s 1500-square metre pop-inspired mural has been unveiled at Barangaroo South.
Rennie’s commanding two-colour installation, As the Crow Flies, is painted vertically and horizontally onto the exteriors and interiors of buildings and hoardings, between International Tower Three and Hickson Road. In bright cobalt blue and neon pink, it extends into the entry and exit areas of the main car park and covers rooftops, making it clearly visible from nearby office towers. It will remain in place for at least two years.
Melbourne-based Rennie is one of Australia’s most respected contemporary artists, and is known for drawing on the symbols and iconography of his Aboriginal Kamilaroi heritage. He contrasts this with an urban aesthetic, inspired by his upbringing as an Aboriginal in the inner city. Rennie creates contemporary pieces to provoke ideas around Indigenous culture and its place in contemporary metropolitan environments.
In As the Crow Flies, hundreds of vibrant neon pink crow feathers lay against a cobalt blue background, highlighting the transient nature of Barangaroo’s high human traffic and its known history as a meeting place.
“The feathers mirror a congregation of people – a meeting place of diverse individuals, philosophies and histories – coming together, reflecting the hive of activity that is unfolding in the redevelopment of Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct,” says Rennie, adding feathers are “a very symbolic and esoteric figure in many cultures around Australia.”
The high contrast colours are also significant, and Rennie explains he wants to “combat stereotypes of Indigenous art and culture; being ochre-coloured and mono culture.” Sydneysiders may know Rennie best known for Always was, Always Will Be, the now removed, vibrant mural that covered the T2 building a Taylor Square. The unmissable piece was also in Rennie’s signature neon pink and cobalt blue, and featured the traditional geometric diamond pattern of the Kamilaroi people.
The new work was commissioned by Lendlease, with support from International Towers Sydney and Dulux, as part of the wider Lendlease Public Art Panel endeavours. It falls under the Barangaroo Public Art and Cultural Plan, which aims to enliven the neighbourhood with artworks providing an engaging and thought-provoking interpretation of the area’s important Indigenous, industrial and maritime histories.
As the Crow Flies spans from International Tower Three (300 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo) to Hickson Road, and will remain in place for at least two years.**