A spectacular outdoor exhibition of 30 two-metre-high whale tail sculptures is expected to attract up to half a million visitors to experience Sydney’s Western Harbour between August 11 and September 24.
Presented as a 6km harbourside trail, the sculptures will be individually created by a diverse collective of artists, including Archibald prize winner Blak Douglas, illustrator and animator Chris Yee, and artist, author and illustrator, Sha’an d’Anthes aka Furry Little Peach.
The trail, which can be completed in one go, as mini-trails across several sub-precincts or via multiple visits over the six-week period, is fully accessible for all ages and abilities and is wheelchair and pram friendly. It links Barangaroo to Cockle Bay, past Crown Sydney, King Street Wharf, Darling Quarter, ICC Sydney around to the Powerhouse Museum, the Australian National Maritime Museum, The Star and the Sydney Fish Market.
As well as enjoying the spectacular free artworks and locations, visitors will be encouraged to access tales of the waterfront, past, present, and future via a dedicated app. By entering the code on each tail into the app, they can also unlock rewards from local businesses including free offers, discounts and prizes, with a major prize also up for grabs for completing all 30 tails.
Indigenous Curatorial Advisors Aunty Joanne Selfe and Uncle Graham Toomey have helped to connect the artists – and through them the visitors – to the Whale Story and to the Gadigal and Saltwater Country on which the exhibition will be presented.
“Traditionally, the whale holds within it intricate Aboriginal knowledge systems, a complex tapestry of science, of knowledge that interweaves with cultural and social practice,” said Aunty Joanne.
“The sculptures will feature the ancient tracks that connect the clans to each other and the sharing of stories and culture,” said Uncle Graham.
“The Western Harbour, which is still a place where unexpected things come together, is the perfect place to lay new tracks that connect these ancient themes of interwoven culture, science, knowledge, stories and social practice”, added Aunty Joanne.
The initiative is presented by the New Sydney Waterfront Company in partnership with global public art trail specialists Wild in Art and supported by the NSW Government through the Investment NSW CBDs Revitalisation Program. It is one of the first initiatives delivered by the New Sydney Waterfront Company, Australia’s first Business Improvement District collaboration, whose vision is to make Sydney’s Western Harbour “the world’s best waterfront”.
“The New Sydney Waterfront Business Improvement District initiative is all about unlocking the value of collaboration,” said Geoff Parmenter, Chair of the New Sydney Waterfront Company. “Whale Tales is great early example of that. Dozens of partners and hundreds of businesses working together to provide a surprising and delightful showcase of creativity, culture, cuisine and community coming together. By connecting the experiences and stories across this place, locals and visitors alike will discover a part of Sydney that uniquely offers the best of our city, in just the time it takes to be dazzled by 30 Tails and 30 Tales.”
After the event, the tail sculptures will be auctioned, with net proceeds going to The Kids Cancer Project. Expressions of interest to purchase sculptures will be taken throughout the event.
This project is being delivered by Wild in Art (UK), Art Pharmacy, Stagekings and Milestone Creative Australia.
Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder, Wild in Art said, “We are excited to be returning to Sydney and teaming up with the New Sydney Waterfront Company and our delivery partners on this exciting event.
Wild in Art passionately champions the importance of art for everybody and the social, cultural and educational benefits which it provides. Whale Tales will bring colour and creativity to the Western Harbour and I have no doubt that it will capture the imaginations of both residents and visitors alike, offering them a new way to explore and discover this wonderful location.”
The event is supported by landowners and stakeholders including Lendlease, the Streets of Barangaroo and Darling Square, Merlin Entertainments, King Street Wharf, GPT (Cockle Bay Wharf), Chinese Gardens, Darling Quarter, Crown Sydney, ICC Sydney, Mirvac, Sydney Fish Market, The Star and the Australian National Maritime Museum.
For news and updates on Whale Tales Sydney visit waterfrontwhaletales.com.au
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What: Waterfront Whale Tales – 30 Tails and 30 Tales
When: 11 August – 24 September
Where: Western Harbour waterfront from Barangaroo around to Sydney Fish Market; fully accessible