Art and Culture

The approach to art and culture is a huge part of what makes Barangaroo unique.  

Creative responses to Barangaroo’s form, geography, rich history and future inform the dedicated Barangaroo art and culture program that focuses on developing a genuine character and identity. 

The program connects history, First Nations cultural significance and the natural environment with dedicated venues and spaces. It mixes temporary and returning activities with permanent displays such as:  

  • digital, landscape-based and guide-led installations and events in outdoor areas 
  • large-scale and fledgling festivals, events, art installations, dance recitals and more in indoor spaces 
  • urban art installations that capture the natural world, connection to Country, and contemporary lifestyles. 

Public Art and Cultural Plan

The Barangaroo Public Art and Cultural Plan guides how public art and cultural programs are commissioned and managed at Barangaroo in dedicated areas set aside for art installations, performance and events.  

The Plan aims to:  

  • attract more people to Barangaroo through public art that contributes to Barangaroo’s evolving character and atmosphere  
  • celebrate and reflect the site’s First Nations and waterfront histories 
  • give people an ever-changing program of temporary art and creative events.  

An ongoing commitment

All arts and cultural works are funded through levies collected under development agreements. This is a sustainable funding model that, in effect, makes a continued commitment to art and cultural programs not just for today, but for the future.  

The approach to art and culture in Barangaroo will never be static; rather, Infrastructure NSW will continue to plan for temporary and permanent artworks throughout Barangaroo, reflecting contemporary times, trends and tastes. 

Creating with the community

The involvement of the arts community is essential, not just to arts and cultural programming, but to the creation of new places, temporary and permanent public art, and to arts governance. Barangaroo’s Art and Culture Panel advises on producing and presenting community, creative and civic events and programming.  

The Panel includes:  

  • Acting Chair Tom Gellibrand 
  • Leon Paroissien 
  • Alison Page 
  • Lisa Havilah 
  • Wesley Enoch 
  • Noel Staunton 
  • Chris Keely 
  • Caroline Butler-Bowden 

Recognising First Nations culture  

People are an integral part of the Barangaroo landscape. The site is part of the territory of the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the Traditional Custodians of the Sydney region. 

Proud Cammeraygal woman, Barangaroo, was a strong female leader at the time of colonisation. She was fiercely protective of her culture, which she recognised was at risk by the arrival of European settlers.  

Art and cultural programs are one way to honour Barangaroo’s connection to her culture and Country. Already, permanent artworks such as the Shell Wall are part of Barangaroo’s built form.  

Wellama and Barangaroo Ngangamay bring these stories to Barangaroo’s visitors, residents and workers. Aboriginal Cultural Tours of Barangaroo Reserve immerse people in the native history of Sydney Harbour and the importance of the land to Australia’s First Nations heritage. Here on the Reserve, the 75,000 native trees and shrubs create a cultural installation. 

A space for arts and events

Both temporary and permanent art installations and cultural events recognise Barangaroo’s history and its contemporary reputation as a space for people, energy and commerce.  

Permanent artworks include: 

  • the seven-storey Shell Wall on the southern façade of the Alexander residential building
  • Barangaroo Ngangamay, a multimedia experience embedded into the sandstone of Barangaroo Reserve that from the technology of today to tell the stories of the past. Using a downloadable app and geolocations, people use five rock engravings to unlock five short films depicting the life cycles of the sun, moon and women. 
  • Wellama is a contemporary reimagining of Welcome to Country. Meaning ‘to come back’ in the Sydney language, Wellama is a 10-minute audio visual artwork that celebrates ritual, ceremony and story practised on Country since time immemorial. 
  • Sabine Hornig’s Shadows, which links the 70m walkway between the three International Towers. 

Related

Sustainability

Climate commitments and sustainability define how planning and design approaches shape the entire Barangaroo precinct. 

Design Excellence

The mix of architecture at Barangaroo draws from the talent of seasoned and upcoming local and international designers and a dedication to design excellence.

Public spaces

At least 50% of Barangaroo is public open space that everyone can access.