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Copyright architecture, art and photos © 2000 The architects, the artists, Sydney Airport.

Existing artworks: 1. Cedar Prest, stained-glass mural "High Tide, East Coast" 6x8m, 2. Detail of previous, 3. Michael Kitching, suspended sculpture "Great White Bird" (total lenght 90m), 4. Alun Leach-Jones, tapestry "Terra Australis", 7x5m.



Australian Visual Culture and the Art Program at Sydney Airports:

1. Communicates to the world the energy and significance of Australian visual culture, its diversity, fmihness, daring and complexity.

2. Is a departure from both the 'old' FAC approach to art collections at airports and from a conventional 'sculptural' interpretation of 'public art.

3. Draws on a philosophy of visual culture which allows for art to be popular and accessible to a broad audience of both art lovers and those who 'don't know about art but know what they like'.

4. Has been developed as an experience for passengers and visitors to the airport.

5. Has communication and pleasure as the basis for decision making about concepts, art works and artists.

6. Celebrates the specificity of Australian cultural diversity especially the renaissance of Australian indigenous culture.

7. Seeks a creative resolution for the sites, and the program as a whole, which establishes and maintains credibility with airport staff and frequent airport users.

8. Seeks a creative resolution which has credibility with 'art world' writers, opinion I makers and theonsts of visual culture.

9. Seeks a creative resolution, which enables the art to be 'seen' in this highly commercial environment - to 'compete' with or co-exist with operational, advertising and retail signage In the crowded visual environment of Sydney Airport.



The Sydney International Terminal Art Program 1999-2000


The Art Program forms part of the SA2000 project. It involves art installations of varying scope and concept at ten key locations around the International Terminal.

Individually, and in sum, the art works will:

- Enhance the Total Journey Experience

- Underscore the Airport's place in the history and culture of Sydney

- Make a memorable and impactful statement about Sydney's and Australia's identity

- Contribute to the functionality and commerciality of specific locations at the Airport

- Intuitively and explicitly add texture to the Airport's contribution to Sydney's tourism offering - especially by meeting an identified demand for a richer cultural dimension.

Some of the installations, for example the photography in the arrivals corridors, and the moving image works on plasma screens in the baggage reclalm area, quite specifically reinforce the Sydney tourism message. Others are designed to appeal to children, to tell stories about Sydney's history, or to communicate a strong sense of place.

In all cases they have been designed to complement the retail environment and the general amenity of the airport, to 'humanise' the spaces and increase the sense of pleasure and delight experienced at this important gateway to Australia.

The funding of the Art Program - the cost of the fabrication and installation of the art works, the artists' and curators' fees, interpretive signage and leaflets, and the launch and publicity campaign - is from the SA2000 budget. The total cost, including administration, is $3.65m, representing 0.5 percent of the total capital works budget.

The Art Program has been planned to generate wide editorial coverage in a range of media outlets and generate significant value through positive unpaid publicity

The selection of the artists and type of art experience for eaoh site has been influenced by the views of the SA2000 architects, Airport operations and marketing staff, and visitor experience research commissioned by the Airport. The art briefs for each site have been carefully developed to cover a range of types of art, different spatial and cultural experiences, and varying audience expectations. All concepts within the project have a marketing and communications aspect to them.



The Consultant Art Coordinator, Sally Gray, leads a team of freelance curator/managers. They have together developed a discursive, interdisciplinary  vision for the Art Program as a whole. Selected artists have developed concepts for each of the designated art sites. This process has been informed by collaboration with Sydney Airport management and staff, and other stakeholders.


The Curatorial team

Sally Gray is principal consultant of Sally Gray and Associates P/L Cultural Consultants. She specialises in the creative development and management of public art projects and exhibitions; strategic cultural development  for business and government; and regional cultural planning.

Collectively the expertise of the curator/managers, for the individual site-specific art works, covers the fields of exhibition management; gallery directorship; art consultancy; commercial gallery management; public programs management; lecturing and writing on contemporary visual culture; 'urban art' and 'public art' development; arts policy development, and expertise in cultural diversity.

Management of the project has included a Curatorium/Project Control Team, including distinguished representatives from outside of the Airport, chaired by SACL's Director, Commercial, Coralie Kelly. This group has monitored  and reviewed the development of the art concepts. A technical and staging advisory group has been chaired by the SA2000 Project Manager, Norman Moore.


The Artists

Artists have been selected for their national and international reputations, for their proven capacity to work at a large scale in architectural settings, and for their capacity to work with a range of stakeholders on a project which emphasises passenger and visitor experience,

Currently in development, is a publishing and events program linked to the launch of the Art Program and the 'new' Sydney Airport.


Projects summary


Project 1- Piazza - Principal Arrivals. Exterior Site

The artworks for the Piazza have been developed to create a complete open space experience at the front of the terminal, providing a sense of arrival, occasion, surprise and delight for all who experience it. We want to establish a strong sense of identity for Sydney Airport, unique in the world, with a riveting sense of 'landing' on Australian soil, acknowledging that cultural tourism, and in particular indigenous cultural tourism, is a significant motivator for in-bound tourism.


Projects 2 & 3 -'Wailing Walls' - Terminals B and C Departures. ('Gateways' to Airside)

The function of this artwork is to provide a focused emotional hub to the Total Journey Experience, to highlight the emotional transition from landside to airside, to provide a farewell point at the 'heart beat' of the airport. We want to create a recognisable and memorable visual environment, which will become known as part of the 'Sydney' experience for international travellers. The work will have a smart contemporary feel, establishing Sydney Airport as part of a sophisticated urban experience.


Project 4 -'Touchstone' - The Green and Golden Bell Frog - Eastern extension under the 'pop-up' elevated roof - Departures Landside

In a family-oriented zone adjacent to McDonalds, midway between Departures Gates B & C, the function of this artwork is to create a 'touchstone' for good luck, safe passage and safe return. The large freestanding sculpture has been designed, with children and families in mind, to be colourful and fun. It is anticipated that it will provide a memorable focus and gathering point for families with children. The Green and Golden Bell Frog, is an endangered indigenous species which the airport is helping to conserve through its environmental plan. This makes a strong connection between the Homebush Olympic site and the Sydney Airport wetlands - the Green and Golden Bell frog has featured prominently in ORTA's public communications strategy. Children, through involvement with primary school 'Frog Squads', are enthusiastically involved in saving the Green and Golden Bell Frog from extinction. 


Project 5 -Bridge over void In Pier C Departures - Airside

This work of art has been designed both to bridge the void in Pier C Departures and to provide a cultural and aesthetic focus for the retail area in this location. It has an important commercial function in terms of retail traffic patterns. The idea is to create an 'experience' instead of 'just a bridge'. The Bridge will enrich visitors' cultural experience of Sydney and create interest and conversation about diverse human history and tradition. Its design will be smart and contemporary while referencing Australian indigenous culture. It will be one of the strongest architectural moments on the Total Journey Experience and will help create an image of Sydney Airport as aware and in touch with contemporary Australian cultural life.


Project 6 - 'The Millennium Tympanum' - Pier B Departures, Airside

Located in an area of Pier B Departures with views to the city, elevated areas glass lift and vegetation, this art work is designed to reflect the historical and geographical location of the airport, especially the surrounding coastline and the Cooks River basin This work will be a stimulating exploration of the history of the coastline form Botany Bay to Pt Jackson, offering the opportunity for visitors to reflect on the history of the city, Australia, and the experience of travel and flight.


Project 7 - 'Arrival Southern Cross 10 June 1928'

Historical Tableau - including re-location of existing art works from the Sydney Airport collection - Arrivals level landside between Terminals B & C adjacent to escalators

The tableau consists of existing airport art works relating to aviation history (model of Southern Cross aircraft built by Folker, cast bronze relief medallion of Charles Ulm by Andov Meszaros), along with carefully selected additional items to enhance these. In particular the tableau will celebrate Australian aviation innovators Smith and Ulm. The installation will create a sense of confidence and charm around popular Australian icons. The smart contemporary design creates an interesting resonance between 'old' and 'new'. It will relate to another aviation history tableau to be developed for another site within the terminal.


Projects 8 & 9 - Still Photography - Arrivals Corridors B and C Airside

Back-lit photographic work displayed in advertising signage panels in cooperation with Manboom who are managing and installing the screens. Manboom believes that the 'art' installations will enhance visitor's experience of the advertising. The function of these photographic artworks is to establish a sense of arrival in Sydney and create links to 'Brand Australia' by imaging Australia as innovative, youthful, free, colourful, adventurous and smart. We want to create a sense of 'surprise' for arriving passengers, and enhance the 'Welcome to Sydney' messages planned for these areas. Peter E~ii~ton 19~9


Project 10-Moving Images on Plasma. Advertising Video Screens on baggage carousels at Baggage Reclaim areas B & C.

This concept has been developed in cooperation with Man boom Historic Houses Trust of NSW Advertising who believe that the 'art' content will enhance the audience response to the advertising material. Specially commissioned screen based moving images will utilise a percentage of time and space on advertising video screens provided by Manboom. Two artists are involved. One artist, Michael Riley, will work with ideas of land and the other artist Susan Norrie will work with ideas of the city These works of art will create a 'leading edge', 'hip' aesthetic as part of the mix of the Total Journey Experience. We want to create a sense of 'surprise' for arriving passengers, and enhance the 'Welcome to Sydney' messages planned for these areas. The moving image work proposed for Sydney Airport is, as far as we can determine, a 'first' in that projection art of this kind appears in no other airport. 



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