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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.”


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.


Entries open for the 40th Sydney Mardi Gras Parade

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Registrations have JUST OPENED for the 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. Join thousands of parade participants as we celebrate four decades of passion, protest, acceptance, activism, pride, family, creativity, drama, satire, diversity and love.

Some groups may also be eligible for grants to help put their floats together. More details on the Mardi Gras website.

Register now and start planning your float! Find all the info here:


Mardi Gras announces it's 2011 season

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New Mardi Gras (NMG) today launched its program of over 80 events running over two weeks leading up to the world famous Parade on March 5th, with stars like Lily Tomlin, Armistead Maupin and Peter Tatchell as well as parties at the Ivy, Luna Park, Sydney Tower, Bondi Beach and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

With a promotional campaign video starring DJ Kate Monroe highlighting that Sydney is a place to sunbake by day and party by night, Mardi Gras is selling itself globally like an episode of Oprah...

In a unique step - Mardi Gras has partnered with some local party promoters to bring some unique twists to its party line up this year, from Homesexual's 'IN THE DARK' team for the new "TOP" party at Centrepoint tower, to the crew from DAYWASH - who will now co-produce the 2011 Harbour Party.

This year’s Parade has Mardi Gras promising to raise the bar in a big way with Ignatius Jones joining the Mardi Gras team as Consulting Artistic Director. Jones is the powerhouse behind some of the world’s biggest events (including Sydney Olympic Opening Ceremony, 2010 Shanghai World Expo, 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Ceremonies). Ignatius leads a creative team that is exhorting Sydneysiders to ‘Say Something’ at Mardi Gras 2011 and to say it fabulously!

The Mardi Gras Festival includes over 80 events with the best queer theatre, art, comedy, cabaret and so much more from Sydney and around the world. This year US comedienne and actress Lily Tomlin joins the Festival, performing her award-winning stand-up at the Enmore Theatre on Friday 4th March - going up against global superstar Rihanna (who is not a part of the festival - but is performing in Sydney on the 4th and 5th).

Sydney Opera House is also in the act this year. Spend a night with “Tales of the City” author Armistead Maupin as he discusses his work, or enjoy the theatrical genius of Taylor Mac with his show “The Ziggy Stardust Meets Tiny Tim Songbook or Comparison is Violence” at The Studio.

Courageous Aussie born, UK activist, Peter Tatchell returns to Australia to share his passionate views about same-sex marriage as debate and discussion day Queer Thinking returns to the Seymour Centre.

Australian performers, Reg Livermore and Nancye Hayes take to the stage with pantomime madness in Turns, and the all-star, all-singing Hats’ Off returns for another sell-out year to raise money for HIV/AIDS charities.

The 2011 program also includes the first ever Mardi Gras Harbour Cruise, the Mardi Gras Film Festival (which recently won Best Australian Film Festival at the if Awards) and everyone’s favourite day in the sun Fair Day – which is set to see 70,000 people descend on Victoria Park.

You can also head down to Bondi to party with the Lifesavers With Pride crew - who have by default become the public face of Mardi Gras... who can resist speedos and tans???

The beach with play host to the Bondi Beach Drag Races and "Beach Party" - so make sure you getsome sunscreen and head on down.

Biggest of the lot is Mardi Gras Party, one of the world’s most celebrated dance parties. Last year’s Party saw secret performances from George Michael, Kelly Rowland and Adam Lambert, with DJs David Guetta and Carl Cox on the decks. The big question on March 5th will be who is playing that party... many rumours are circulating and of course Mardi Gras will stay tight lipped, but with the parade and party back on the same night this year - we suggest getting your Mardi Gras Party ticket ahead of all others, as if last year is anything to go by - big names will be popping up on stage, behind the decks, and in the crowd!

All events are now on sale, and more information is available from the official Mardi Gras website (

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