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An Enormous Piece of Public Art Is Coming to Barangaroo

Australian artist Reko Rennie continues to explore his Aboriginal Kamilaroi/Gamilaroi identity with a large-scale, neon-hued mural.
By Tom Clift
April 03, 2017
By Tom Clift
April 03, 2017

Acclaimed artist Reko Rennie will unveil a colossal public artwork down at Barangaroo next month, bringing a dash of vivid colour to the harbourside precinct. More than 1500 square metres in size, As the Crow Flies stretches between Towers One and Two of the International Towers Sydney and Hickson Road, and takes the shape of a large-scale, pop art-inspired, bright cobalt blue and neon pink installation, painted vertically and horizontally onto Barangaroo building exteriors.

"I use a lot of saturated colours throughout the work," Rennie tells Concrete Playground. "It's about trying to capture someone's attention, and the colour will do that."

Commissioned by Lendlease under the Barangaroo Public Art and Cultural Plan, the work in progress is expected to be completed by early May, and will be on display for two years. Rennie has based the work around the repeated motif of a fallen crow feather of a crow. "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," explained Rennie.

Born in Melbourne, Rennie started out as a graffiti artist, and the influence of street art can be seen in his output today. "My experience has come from living in the city," he says. "So using a lot of bright colour also goes back to when I was doing graffiti in Melbourne."

As the Crow Flies also draws on Rennie's Aboriginal Kamilaroi/Gamilaroi identity. "I'm using a very spiritual and iconic feather that represents many things for many communities," he explains. He also tells us that he hopes his work "breaks stereotypes about what constitutes Aboriginal art."

As for the setting for his latest piece, Rennie says that public art provides artists with a unique opportunity "to inform, or raise awareness about an issue." In this case, he hopes to convey "the transient nature of our lives and the spaces that we visit and occupy," as well as "the freedom that we enjoy here, that is a lot of the time taken for granted."

Its prominent position will also ensure that Rennie's latest work will be seen by more than "institutional clientele".

"It opens up the demographic a bit more and creates access to art," he says. "There should be more public spaces engaged for artists, because it transforms the area and presents something nicer than just looking at mundane walls or advertising."

As The Crow Flies is scheduled for completion by early May 2017.

Images: Reko Rennie on site with As The Crow Flies, his work in progress at Barangaroo. Photo: Daniel Boud.

Published on April 03, 2017 by Tom Clift

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