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Sydney's Taylor Square gets a Mardi Gras makeover

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A new fabulous inflatable art installation will take pride of place at Taylor Square to mark four decades of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and cement the precinct’s place in its history.

40 Years of Love, which its creators describe as a “big, bold and sassy artwork based on concepts of public protest, joyous celebration, community activation and engagement”, was announced as the winner of the Taylor Square Public Art Project today, Thursday 22 February, by Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

The project winner, launched by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and proudly supported by the City of Sydney, is designed on a large triangular aluminium truss that rises above the existing grass island and water fountain to transform the space into a light-filled pavilion.

The installation, by artists Matthew Aberline and Maurice Goldberg from art studio Goldberg Aberline Studio (GAS), invites those passing by the historic Darlinghurst precinct to stop, stretch out on the grass to view its complex detailed work, and ponder the Mardi Gras story.

 “The Yes Campaign proved that Taylor Square was still an important meeting place for the LGBTQI community,” said Aberline and Goldberg.

“Our artwork re-invigorates the Square as a focal point and meeting place, reminding us we have plenty to celebrate.”

40 Years of Love will be unveiled on the anniversary of the first Mardi Gras on Sunday 24 June, 2018, and be installed for three months.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras called for expressions of interest from artists to create a temporary public artwork.

Mardi Gras CEO Terese Casu said “The Taylor Square Public Art Project’s aim is to create a temporary piece of art that helps celebrate the defining moments shared over the last forty years of Mardi Gras, in an iconic location for the LGBTQI people of Sydney.”

40 Years of Love “examines the themes of repression, adversity, freedom, diversity and equality” and was inspired by queer artists like Peter Tully, Brenton Heath-Kerr, Ron Muncaster, Keith Haring and Pierre et Gillesaid Aberline and Goldberg.

“With the work’s vibrant energy and complexity, we share that Mardi Gras isn’t a singular thing but a cacophony of diverse ideas, people, histories, politics and expressions.”

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was proud to support and celebrate the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

“This wonderfully exuberant work will light up the historical heart of our LGBTI community in Taylor Square,” the Lord Mayor said.

“What began as a bloody protest almost 40 years ago is now a three-week festival celebrating our diverse and resilient LGBTQI communities – acknowledging just how far we have come in the fight for equality and acceptance. What better way to commemorate that long history than this politically-charged, joyful work.  

“I know Sydneysiders and visitors alike will love Matthew Aberline and Maurice Goldberg’s colourful and celebratory work when it’s installed alongside our permanent rainbow flag later this year.”

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Sydney Raises the Rainbow Flag over Town Hall to launch Mardi Gras 2018.

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The colours of the rainbow are proudly flying over Sydney Town Hall as the city gets set to mark the 40th anniversary of our world-renowned Mardi Gras festival.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore today led an official flag-raising ceremony on the steps of Sydney Town Hall that was attended by Mardi Gras organisers, ‘78ers and key members of the community.

“The rainbow flag is a potent symbol of pride that was born out of political action in the global LGBTIQ community and it just happens to be the same age as our historic Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Flying the iconic flag above Sydney Town Hall continues to raise awareness, highlight important issues that continue to face the LGBTIQ community and acts as an emblem for inclusion.

“We celebrated Australia (and 84% of Sydneysiders) saying ‘Yes’ to marriage equality with a beautiful rainbow waterfall of fireworks cascading from the Sydney Harbour Bridge on New Year’s Eve, and we will continue our support for the LGBTIQ community in the months and years to come.”

The raising of the rainbow flag marks the start of 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival. This is the ninth year the international symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) pride has flown over the city’s landmark civic building.

The rainbow flag originated in San Francisco in 1978. Designed by artist Gilbert Baker, it has become a worldwide symbol of gay pride and gay-friendly areas. The red in the flag symbolises life, orange denotes healing, yellow is for sunlight, green represents nature, blue stands for harmony and violet signifies spirit.

Mardi Gras CEO, Terese Casu, said the City has been an important partner of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for many years.

“The City’s support has helped grow Mardi Gras into the globally recognised beacon of diversity and acceptance that it is today,” Ms Casu said.

“The raising of the rainbow flag proudly over Town Hall signals the beginning Mardi Gras and 17 sparkling days of festival fun. We invite Sydneysiders and visitors alike to join us in this beautiful city to celebrate our historic 40th anniversary Mardi Gras Festival.”

The City is a government partner of Sydney’s Mardi Gras Festival and will fly the rainbow flag above Sydney Town Hall from Friday 16 February until Sunday 4 March when the festival ends.

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