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Sydney Airport and MCA announce major contemporary Aboriginal artwork for T1 International terminal

December 20, 2017 Airport No Comments Email Email

Sydney Airport and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) today announced Kamilaroi artist Archie Moore has been selected to realise a major work of contemporary art for the Marketplace at the airport’s T1 International terminal. 

United Neytions is a highly significant work that will give a strong sense of place in its location at the airport. Its 28 large flags will hang from the dramatic 17-metre high ceiling of the Marketplace. The distinctive graphic designs of the flags reflect the diversity of Aboriginal cultures in Australia. The gentle movement of the flags will produce a calming effect, creating a welcoming presence at Australia’s gateway airport.

Moore’s work was selected based on its striking visual qualities, and for its creative and conceptually strong response to the airport’s brief.

Sydney Airport Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kerrie Mather said Sydney Airport was thrilled to support one of Australia’s most singular artists and promote his work to the world.

“Sydney Airport is proud to commission this vibrant artwork – a major installation of well-recognised significance of recent Australian Aboriginal art – to extend Sydney’s arts culture to the airport and enhance the passenger experience,” Ms Mather said.

“We’re delighted to be working with artist Archie Moore to support his vision and create a strong sense of place at the Marketplace in T1. We can’t wait to share his work with a local and global audience of 15 million passengers a year, leaving them with a positive impression of Sydney as they depart Australia.”

MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE said Mr Moore’s United Neytions was chosen from an outstanding group of proposals.

“I congratulate Sydney Airport on the choice of Kamilaroi artist Archie Moore – one of our nation’s most important contemporary artists – for this important commission. Archie Moore has approached this exciting opportunity with great flair and his visually striking installation will no doubt intrigue, engage and capture the imagination of the millions of passengers passing through the airport’s International terminal every year,” Ms Macgregor said.

“The artwork is a perfect fit for a place which sees so many nations and language groups cross paths, exploring as it does ideas around boundaries, national identities and flags – what they represent, what they mean as a symbol of claiming a land, how they create and divide groups.”

Leading contemporary Australia artist Archie Moore said his work makes a strong statement.

“I’d like to thank Sydney Airport for the opportunity to reconfigure United Neytions. This opportunity has allowed this series of flags that celebrates issues of place and identity to adopt a scale and status that official international flags have; drawing attention to the histories, voices and presence of local Indigenous people on which land the airport – an international zone/’no man’s land’ – lies, but also the passages of cultures, pasts, territories, ages and cultural knowledges that airports foster,” Mr Moore said.

United Neytions was first created for The National 2017: New Australian Art, with this new iteration of the work created especially for Sydney Airport. It engages with the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australia and speaks broadly to themes of boundaries, identity and inter-cultural understanding. Whilst the work is imbued with local significance, it operates universally to be of meaning to everyone who passes through Sydney Airport. It does not require any prior cultural knowledge.

The work was selected by a panel chaired by the project’s art curator Barbara Flynn. Panel members included Sydney Airport’s Kerrie Mather, Greater Sydney Commission Chief Commissioner Lucy Turnbull AO, City of Sydney Design Director Bridget Smyth, and MCA Australia Director Curatorial and Digital Blair French.

The project’s art curator Barbara Flynn added, “Moore’s United Neytions is singular in its impact and meaning. The work represents a very significant addition to Sydney’s public domain. Moore was one of eight leading Australian artists, including four Aboriginal artists, competing for the honour of realising a work of art at Sydney Airport — Moore is an inspired choice.”

Sydney Airport and the MCA signed a landmark partnership in August commissioning an Australian contemporary artist to create a new work for T1. A number of leading artists were invited to submit proposals for the project. The installation will be completed and unveiled in 2018.

Sydney Airport has a strong community investment program to enrich the community, supporting a range of beneficiaries from local grassroots charities and organisations to the arts and sporting clubs, encompassing significant investment in performing and visual arts. The major installation will also complement the significant existing art collection throughout Sydney Airport’s terminals.

The MCA is an iconic part of Sydney’s arts and cultural community, as Australia’s leading museum dedicated to exhibiting, interpreting and collecting the work of today’s artists.

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