Spectacular Autumn Events For Culture Vultures Seeking Their Next Fix

Make sure you add these must-do events to your Sydney culture calendar.
Concrete Playground and Joe Rivers
Published on May 10, 2024

Spectacular Autumn Events For Culture Vultures Seeking Their Next Fix

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Make sure you add these must-do events to your Sydney culture calendar.

As the state capital and one of the region's most vibrant cities, Sydney is bursting at the seams with diverse cultural happenings.

Luckily, we're here to guide you. We've rounded up a trifecta of the most thrilling and culturally important experiences over the coming months.

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    Have you ever looked at Sydney Tower, the Harbour City’s tallest structure, and wondered what it’d look like with 40-kilometre-long laser beams shooting out of it? When Vivid Sydney arrives for 2024, you’ll no longer need to just ponder that question. The answer comes via Global Rainbow, which will project a fan of light from the tower courtesy of US artist Yvette Mattern.

    Vivid always boasts light installations and openair art as one of its key pillars, but the annual festival just might outdo itself with this year’s display of light, music, ideas and food. Across 23 nights between Friday, May 24–Saturday, June 15, in what marks the event’s 14th year, Vivid has a plethora of other ways to liven up the New South Wales capital on its 2024 lineup. Whether you’d like to hear tunes by Air, Budjerah and Yasiin Bey, or see artwork by Archibald Prize winner Julia Gutman on the Sydney Opera House’s sails, or feast your way through a once-in-a-lifetime dining residence, take in an immersive dance performance at Shifting Perspectives or diverse music at a revamped heritage venue at Machine Hall, it’s all possible during Vivid Sydney.

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  • 4

    The Harbour City doesn’t lack art highlights all year, every year, but every two years the New South Wales capital plays host to the Biennale of Sydney.

    2024 is one such year, with a hefty lineup taking over the city from Saturday, March 9–Monday, June 10 under the theme Ten Thousand Suns. White Bay Power Station is opening to the public for the first time in over a century for the Biennale, which is a huge highlight of the program. Of course, so are the 96 artists and collectives contributing 400-plus pieces across the event. Australia is represented, naturally, as is everywhere from Aotearoa New Zealand, Indonesia, India and Japan to Ukraine, Brazil, Mexico, the UK and the US.

    Works can be found at major art venues across the city. From Indigenous weaving at White Bay Power Station and Artspace to pieces at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Art Gallery of New South Wales. Whoever is showcased where, they’re pondering heat, power, light, summer, joy, strength, the changing climate and everything else that the sun brings to mind. And, they’re part of a lineup that also includes artist talks, art tours, workshops, music and more.

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  • 3
    Australian Fashion Week

    Australian Fashion Week, the southern hemisphere’s biggest fashion event, has been part of the international fashion calendar for nearly three decades. The 2024 iteration, which runs from May 13-17, promises to be one of the biggest yet. Its five-day program features emerging designers alongside established names and culminates in the final night runway show.

    It’s not just catwalks. There are panels discussing burning fashion topics like gender diversity, club culture, and sustainability. While it may not have the reputation of London or Paris, the Carriageworks event still pulls in 33,000 attendees annually and has been the launchpad for big names in the industry, like Anna Quan and Bec + Bridge.

    Perhaps most interesting, however, is AFW’s selection of Changemakers: an exclusive group of industry luminaries pushing fashion forward and getting the privilege of impacting the week’s programming. This year’s chosen few include Rumbie Mutsiwa, a Chippendale-based hairdresser specialising in curly and afro hair, and James Bartle, whose Outland Denim brand provides jobs for women affected by human trafficking.

    Plenty of the events during the week are open to the public, but you’ll need to purchase tickets in advance, so get in quick.

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  • 2

    Thanks to his posters promoting the work of actor Sarah Bernhardt, Czech artist and illustrator Alphonse Mucha became inextricably linked with the Parisian art nouveau movement at the beginning of the 20th century.

    This three-month showcase at the Art Gallery of New South Wales runs from Saturday, June 15 to Sunday, September 22 in collaboration with The Mucha Foundation in Prague. It represents the biggest Mucha exhibition ever in Australia and is exclusive to Sydney.

    Attendees can peruse the photographs, jewellery and his painting cycle, The Slav Epic, through an immersive, digital experience. Spirit of Art Nouveau will be the first exhibition of historical art to be held in the Art Gallery’s North Building, and many of the works on display come from the Mucha family’s own collection.

    Image: Alphonse Mucha Reverie 1898 © Mucha Trust 2024

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  • 1

    Time Machine may be a fairly obvious title for a half-century career retrospective of an artist’s work, but Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photography has always been about more than simply capturing an image at a specific point.

    Sugimoto has called his work “time exposed.” He is known for using a large-format camera and developing his own darkroom chemicals, which contribute to his inimitable style. This exhibition is running from August to October at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

    According to the man himself, “There is no decisive moment in my photograph, only the melting of time.” So make sure you spend the time to take in his extraordinary technical display that tells us that time machines may exist after all.

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