Canal to Creek Public Art Program
Canal to Creek Public Art Program
Art for everyone
Officially launching later this year, the WestConnex Public Art Program – ‘Canal to Creek’ - is a diverse program of eighteen commissioned artworks that will help activate new and existing parklands between St Peters and Beverly Hills including contemporary sculpture, artist-designed playgrounds, a writers walk, large-scale murals and immersive lighting installations.
Named ‘Canal to Creek’ after the waterways that connect the art sites, each work is a site-specific exploration of the relationship between people and place.
Learn more about the art pieces here:
Gordon Young’s work Down To Earth creates a Writers Walk along a section of Campbell Road, St Peters. In a series of eight text-based sculptures, the Writers Walk presents a diverse mix of found and original, historical and contemporary texts including lyrics, poetry, diaries and stories.
The work celebrates the cultural significance of brick for the local community. Constructed from bespoke handmade bricks, the artwork materiality directly references Sydney Park’s iconic heritage brick kilns, chimneys and vast clay pits, as well as the urban character of St Peters brick homes.
To Be – Ikigai; A reason for being. The Japanese concept of Ikigai refers to the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile. This is the central idea behind Andrew Rogers’ new public artwork.
The sculptural forms comprising the diptych stand in conversation with each other. Interpreted as two abstract figures, the work creates a space to contemplate the relationship between the individual and community.
Made from highly polished stainless steel, the reflective quality transforms the work into a site-specific response to the St Peters urban context, both absorbing and reflecting the world around.
To Be - Ikigai is an impressive five metre high landmark that invites audiences to explore the contemporary cultural landscape.
In contemporary communications, an asterisk is a place-holder, a symbol or mark. It is a footnote in writing, an editing tool in social media, and a symbol combining numbers in mathematics. Since it was first used 2000 years ago by the Greek poet Aristarchus of Samothrace, an asterisk creates a visual and sensory pause - a moment for reflection and redirection. Centred near the entrance and within the curve of a green space between triangular pathway intersections, Asterisk will welcome locals and visitors and become a community meeting place.
Asterisk links to the ancient stellar navigation systems used to guide travellers on journeys far and wide, and looks to constellations and traditions significant in Aboriginal astronomy for direction. At the crest of the St Peters Interchange in this new transport route, the futurist sculpture is a modern compass, placing equal value on different perspectives. Its striking shadows act like a sundial, creating intrigue and changing with the time of day and season.
Asterisk invites people to interact, reflect, explore and play.
Near The Centre (There Is Music) by Greg Johns is a compelling meditation on place, people and history. The work features a large central piece surrounded by an installation of ten figures known as The Observers.
The central four metre high mandala is a fractal form, a simple pattern that repeats over and over, becoming infinitely complex and never-ending. Artists have been making fractal patterns for many centuries and across many cultures. It is also a phenomenon that exists throughout nature: trees, rivers, clouds, hurricanes and many other organic systems are all fractal forms. Johns uses this patterning to connect to the generative forces of nature, older belief systems, and contemporary physics and philosophy, to suggest a universal interconnectedness.
As one moves around the central Corten steel sculpture, the internal patterns change dramatically to create a dynamic, sensory experience. This heroic scale is contrasted with the intimate, human scale experience of The Observers. Embedded in these figures is a hybrid of cultural references that influence Johns’ practice: the Australian landscape, Indigenous art and European figurative sculpture.
Carbon store by Stephen King is a monumental work that comments on the significant amount of carbon locked up in Australian hardwoods. After a summer of catastrophic bushfires along the Australian east coast that unleashed 250m tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere - almost half the country’s annual emissions – this timely and poignant work is also a hopeful reminder that forest regrowth can help reabsorb carbon emissions.
King’s immense structure at the new St Peters Interchange parkland is intimately linked to the bush landscape in which it was made. King is an artist and farmer in the New England region of NSW. That landscape is the literal foundation for his art: his sculptures are made of trees usually windfall - sourced from his own farmland, or from local, ecologically sustainable self-replacing timber plots. He carves the hardwood logs into trussed beams with a chainsaw, cutting across the grain to create the illusion of a painted brush stroke. The handmade structural elements are slightly off key, each one a different response to the tree from which it came.
Towering over the interchange at 14.5 metres high, Carbon store reshapes our relationship to architecture and creates a more tactile, organic experience within an urban context. The public is invited to step into this immersive space, passing through and around the sculpture as they journey the contemporary cultural landscape.
Yioryios Papayioryiou is an emerging, local Inner West artist who works out of his Alexandria studio. He creates minimalist, abstract sculptures inspired by architecture and the built environment. His new work Points of Interception (CTC20) is a seamless, fluid gesture responding to the lines and contours of the new St Peters Interchange motorway.
It is also a celebration of local heritage and character. Painted on one side in a vibrant cadmium deep red, it is the iconic colour associated with Federation architecture built throughout the Inner West. While re-imagining the heritage of the area into contemporary sculpture, Points of Interception (CTC20) simultaneously provides a new icon for St Peters that embodies the regeneration and revitalization of the Interchange as part of a major city-shaping project.
The work will be sited on top of the St Peters Interchange mound adjacent to Canal Road. It is the main landscape feature of the parkland and from this vantage point audiences can appreciate the artwork in the context of a city in motion. The panoramic view from the top of the mound provides an insight into the complex logistics and transit modalities of a global city: the constant stream of aircraft at Sydney Airport; the colourful patchwork of shipping containers at Canal Road Maritime Container Services; and the hum of the surrounding major road arteries.
Points of Interception (CTC20) harnesses the energy and dynamism of this transforming urban landscape, distilling it into a sculptural form that diverse audiences can access and enjoy.
St Peters Fences Playground is an assemblage of climbable brick fences. Each fence is built brick-for-brick from archive images recreating the front fences of homes in St Peters demolished for infrastructure expansion projects in the last 30 years.
The contrasting aesthetic of fences throughout the Inner West reveals the cultural diversity of the area and how fence designs were influenced by the cultural background of immigrating families. The recreation of fences transfers these objects the status of heritage artefact, celebrating them as a markers of local identity and diversity. St Peters Fences Playground transforms Simpson Park into a new type of museum playscape that can explore community history and memory in a way that is fun, engaging and interactive for children and adults alike.
Each individual element of the 1,500 square metre playground is hand-crafted from materials including salvaged brick, heritage sandstone and Victorian terrace fencing, most of which has been salvaged from homes recently demolished along Campbell St.
The new playground is designed for accessible, inclusive and imaginative play, with tailored spaces for low play and wheelchair access, gradually increasing in height for advanced play. The playground has been co-created with community, including a series of community engagement workshops with St Peters Public School students who contributed ideas that will be incorporated into the final design.
Adam King’s work Pemulwuy and Aboriginal Sydney celebrates local Indigenous people and culture, linking past and present generations of Aboriginal people on Country.
Silhouettes of 207 local Aboriginal people will be displayed across panels on five steel sculptures. The play of light through negative space will cast their shadow onto the land (Country), place of eternal connection and belonging. One of the panels honours the strength and resilience of Bidjigal man Pemulwuy the Rainbow Warrior. Pemulwuy led the Aboriginal resistance against the British colony in the late eighteenth century, conducting a twelve year period of guerrilla warfare until his assassination in 1802. He remains a loved and admired hero of the Eora nation, and in this new artwork he is surrounded by generations of Aboriginal people of the Sydney District including the Blue Mountains, Gosford and Wollongong.
The work is located at Turrella Reserve, Earlwood, close to Wolli Creek and the remnant native bushland of the Wolli Creek walking track. The work is intended to engage visitors to the National Parks and Wildlife Services parkland, increasing access and engagement to Indigenous history and culture for diverse audiences to enjoy.
Dan Templeman’s vibrant new work Eight Rings transforms Linear Park near King Georges Road, Beverly Hills. The work is created for the enjoyment and engagement of adjoining residents and users of Linear Park, helping to activate the existing parkland with this exciting cultural intervention.
The work is conceived as two identical sets of four rings ‘cut’ from two identical cylinders. The two sets of rings touch and by ‘turning’ the rings away from each other, a complex dynamic emerges in which foreground and background merge and separate in a jumble of seemingly disparate arcs.
As the viewer moves around the work it appears to change. The complex and scrambled form is quickly untangled when the viewer moves to apprehend the singularity of each set of rings. The re-joining of the eight rings into a set of two gives the artwork an elusive quality that promotes exploration and engagement, transforming the environment and one’s perception of it.
A collection of glass mosaic-tiled sculptures by Deborah Halpern will create a vibrant portal to Linear Park from Kingsgrove Road. Titled The Four Graces, the figures represent natural elements: Wind, River, Cloud and Solar. They are an allegoric family that symbolise the land, the weather, and creatures that inhabit Kingsgrove and the surrounding areas. Each figure is kinetic, their wind-activated heads bringing the figures to life.
The Wind figure celebrates this energetic force and the central role it has played in shaping our landscapes, ecologies, mythologies, science and technology. River is a reference to the Cooks River and Wolli Creek waterways that are significant geographic features of the local environment and sustain local bird and fish populations. Cloud refers to the local native flora, remnants of the historical wildlife of the area. Solar has small ears that evoke the animals that still call this area home, like the Common Brushtail Possum and the Grey-headed Flying Fox.
The four works represent family, community, and the inter-connection between all things.
Moonvessel & Horn (Soul Mine) by Hanna Hoyne, pairs a crescent moon, lying on its back, next to giant golden gramophone horn. The work gently gestures at cosmologies of the universe and the interior world of the human self.
The moon has fascinated people since the beginnings of time, guiding travellers on their movements across our planet and helping us understand our place in the universe. The moon sculpture is a kind of cosmic vessel, a symbol of journey. Shaped like a canoe, it has a relationship to the nearby Wolli Creek and travels the waterway has made possible since time immemorial. Created at a human scale, Moonvessel invites passers-by to sit and lie in the cradle of the sculpture, as if one might be transported on a celestial odyssey.
The gramophone Horn sculpture depicts a mechanical version of the naturally-occurring trumpet shape used by humans for millennia to amplify song and man-made sound. It is a metaphor for listening, the kind of listening that directs one inwards to the soul.
Nicole Monks’ artist-designed playground is a tribute to the Local Mob – the Gadigal, Bidjigal and Gwegal - Water People who swam, hunted and fished with their children in bark canoes on the local waterways.
The interpretive playscape encourages learning and interacting with the landscape through play. It takes the form of a long, fluid line of movement, referencing the elemental flow of Wolli Creek and Cooks River. The bright, colourful palette connects us to sky and waranggu: rainbow. This Indigenous perspective of place is expressed in a contemporary form that brings together communities of children from all cultures to play, learn and grow.
Waranggu is designed for imaginative and non-prescriptive play experiences like climbing, hanging, walking, crawling, running, swinging and resting
Tom Misura’s kangaroo seats celebrate the traditional native fauna of the Wolli Creek area. Shaped in stainless steel and standing larger than life, children and adults alike will be able to experience the delight of sitting in a kangaroo pouch. These playful, interactive and functional sculptures will activate Tallawalla Street Reserve, Beverly Hills.
Warren Langley’s Wolli transforms Kindilan underpass in Beverly Hills into an experiential lighting sculpture. It is inspired by the nearby Wolli Creek, an attempt to capture the beauty of sunlight reflecting off its rippling water.
Pure white light emanates from carved polycarbonate blades that are suspended from the ceiling. The blades meander through the underpass, gently curving like the natural flow of the creek. Each blade represents a ripple effect, creating a sense of movement through the underpass.
The artist worked with the local community to draw out their stories and relationships to Wolli Creek. A competition was held with the St George Photographic Society where the community was invited to create imagery that shows how the natural environment shapes their experience. The artwork responds to these community interpretations of Wolli Creek, providing meaning to their lived experience of place.
Christina Huynh (aka STYNA) is a Western Sydney based artist whose work is inspired by travels to faraway places, storytelling, and heritage. She brings these themes to her new large scale painting Fantastic Worlds at Lundy underpass, Kingsgrove.
The work celebrates Kingsgrove’s local heritage and cultural diversity. Key elements in the work are the native Gouldian finch, national flowers from around the world, and a series of terracotta pots. The pots reference Mashman Pottery Works which opened in Kingsgrove in 1910- 2010 and produced traditional terracotta products. Many of these objects are now part of significant decorative arts collections including the Powerhouse Museum. STYNA pays tribute to this long tradition of arts and craftsmanship that is part of Kingsgrove’s heritage.
The idea of the work is to convey that fantastic worlds aren’t so far from our day to day – when one seeks it, there are actually things happening all around.
I love to imagine the creatures under the water and the possums sitting on the trees looking at the house. I love foxies in the tree and owls having a happy life. Birds singing in moo trees. I wish for my tunnel audience to swim with my river creatures.” Emily Crockford
Emily Crockford (Studio A) will transform Kingsgrove’s Karingal underpass into an immersive art experience using large-scale painting and lighting installation.
Titled Oyster’s Eating Rainbows, this work will create a natural wonderland within the tunnel environment. It is inspired by the ecological abundance and diversity of the area and its waterways: the birds, fish, yabbies and oysters. It is also a reminder of the fragility of these habitats and the importance of preserving our skies, branches and riverbeds for future generations to come.
Local street artists Matthew Peet (aka Mistery) and Michael Lothian (aka Jesta) were commissioned nearly two decades ago to paint an underpass mural for Linear Park, Kingsgrove. The artist team is re-commissioned for Canal to Creek: The M8 Public Art Program to install a new large scale painting in Arinya underpass, bringing a contemporary perspective to the parkland. This time, Mistery and Jesta are making a bigger and bolder statement across the architecture of the tunnel, the artwork literally pouring out of the underpass.
The work does two things: plays with depth and perspective, creating an optical illusion when viewed from certain vantage points. This multi-dimensional space encourages the audience to enter the work. It also depicts key buildings from past, present and future Kingsgrove, documenting the changing urban landscape and transformations in place and culture.
Jason Wing is commissioned to do a series of stencils along the Linear Park retaining walls, connecting the new cultural landscape of contemporary artworks between Bexley North and Beverly Hills. This series will pay homage to Pemulwuy the Rainbow Warrior, a Bidjigal man of the Eora nation and one of the most significant activists and political figures in the late 18th century.
Pemulwuy led the Aboriginal campaign of resistance against colonial forces, using the Cooks River as a major artery for connecting clans and transporting warriors. This important, site-specific history will be recognised at Linear Park, representing the Bidjigal hero in context.
Pemulwuy will be depicted by the crow. He was known as Butu Wargun, meaning “crow” or “law man” in Bidjigal language, and there are accounts of Pemulwuy escaping incarceration by transforming into a crow, only leaving behind crow feathers in his cell.