Allianz Stadium Public Art Program

Completed: 2022
Client: Infrastructure for NSW

Cultural Capital was engaged to curate and deliver a public art program for the Allianz Stadium. Cultural Capital developed the program in consultation with the design and construction teams, City of Sydney Public Art Unit, Metropolitan and La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Councils, and an Art Advisory Panel made up of the project’s key stakeholders.

The art program presents an ambitious collection of works responding to the theme ‘Ritual and Spectacle’, featuring local Indigenous stories and place-based narratives.

The program features artist-designed stadium seats by Tony Albert, a sculpture commission from Dinni Kemarre Kunoth, a sports surface by Dennis Golding, an Acknowledgement of Country animation by Carmen Glynn-Braun and Marilyn Russell, a wind screen featuring the artwork of Gary Carsley, and an immersive sound installation by Tina Havelock Stevens.

Stadium Seats by Tony Albert

Tony Albert, (Girramay, Yidinji and Kuku-Yalanji people. Lives Sydney, NSW/Brisbane, QLD) 'Two Worlds Colliding: Water & Land', artist-designed stadium seats, 2022. Photography by Josh Raymond.

Each end of the stadium is separated and distinguished by two different designs symbolizing land and water – the land through geometric diamond designs taken from nature, and the bubble of concentric circles for water. 

Through his artwork, Tony Albert is embedding the idea of Country on top of the stadium. The two ends of the stadium will be separated and distinguished by two different designs representing land and water. This creates an element of friendly yet fierce competition.

The design of the large stadium wings is based on a typographical map of Country from the local area surrounding SFS, embedding the idea of Country in the stadium. Attention is given to the Indigenous context of the land, the natural environment, and to the architecture, while taking into consideration the numerous sightlines and entrances to the stadium.

Meeting Place Sculpture by Dinni Kunoth Kemarre

Dinni Kunoth Kemarre (Anmatyerre people. Lives Utopia, NT.) 'One Big Mob, All Mixed Up' steel and fibreglass sculpture, 2022. Photography by Josh Raymond.

Sport is a language and culture in itself and one shared by many regardless of background, colour or wealth. It is the common ground, the level playing field, where there should be no colour, religion or class. It is a tool to break down social and  cultural barriers on and off the field.

Sport has a way of creating community and tying all those involved to it. These communities are born from a common goal, working together to achieve victory. Clubs generally include teams of all ages, genders and abilities, truly encompassing the notion of ‘inclusiveness and diversity’.

Dinni’s intention is to represent an Australia that is blended, multicultural, and all inclusive. Visitors of all backgrounds and ethnicities come together at the stadium and surround the sculpture adding to its presence, representing a true Australia, “all together, all mixed up”.

Sports Surface by Dennis Golding

Dennis Golding (Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay people. Lives Sydney, NSW.) 'From here we grow', artist-designed sports surface, 2022. Photography by Josh Raymond.

From here we grow transforms the ground plane surface of the Sports and Community Precinct into a culturally vibrant experience. 

The concept explores the memory of both culture and the landscape through storylines of contemporary life and history. 

The design includes figures of a hand, foot, sports balls and Xanthorrhoea (grass plant) within the formation of land pathways, sea currents, river streams and waterholes. 

During the creative process, the artist has engaged with the local Aboriginal community, including former Australian netball and rugby representatives.

Acknowledgement of Country Animation by Carmen Glynn-Braun and Marilyn Russell

Carmen Glynn-Braun (Arrernte, Kaytetye, and Anmatyerre people. Lives Sydney, NSW.) and Traditional Owner, Marilyn Russell (Bidjigal people. Lives Sydney, NSW). 'Buri Buri Song', animation on stadium screens, 2022. Photography by Josh Raymond.

The master of the seas, Buri Buri (Whale) is the ancestral being to the Bidjigal people. Fish and sea life can be seen to thrive in Buri Buri’s waters.

Within this vibrant eco system, Buri Buri leads the flow of the fish, the people and the water according to his rhythm. Buri Buri brings with him the changes of the seasons as he passes through the Bidjigal shores.

Throughout generations fisherman awaited Buri Buri’s seasonal arrival and with it the delivery of fish and the abundant flow of the sea.

This video artwork will play on the screens inside the stadium and serve as a reminder of the importance of Aboriginal culture and the ongoing cultural practices of local Saltwater people. 

Carmen Glynn-Braun’s & Marilyn Russell’s collaboration on Buri Buri represents a local, Indigenous, intergenerational, female perspective. The soundtrack tells the story of Buri Buri as told by Marilyn Russell.

Wind Screen by Gary Carsley

Gary Carsely, 'D.134 (XANTHORRHOEA ARBOREA)' vinyl on glass, 2022. Photography by Josh Raymond.

D.134 (XANTHORRHOEA ARBOREA) celebrates the Xanthorrhoea tree. The Xanthorrhoea will be presented to show the full arc cyclical change, acknowledging the seasons.  

The Xanthorrhoea is culturally significant to the Gadigal. Xanthorrhoea is also known as the ‘Gadi’ tree and is where the Gadigal people of Sydney derive their name. Extensive First Nations engagement was undertaken in the process of creating the work. 

The image of the Xanthorrhoea tree was created from a bespoke palette of photos of various wood and other timber veneers associated with SCG precinct.  The swatches of timber used in the creation of the palette include those from the historically resonant areas of the Members and Ladies Pavilion as well as those used in the construction of the new SFS provided by local manufacturers.

Selected flower spears of the Xanthorrhoea trees contain a QR code with stories about the deep connections the Moore Park precinct has to some of Sydney’s most important social and cultural memories

Sound Sculpture by Tina Havelock-Stevens

Tina Havelock-Stevens, 'Hear Here (A Sonic Story)', soundscape integrated into benches under Tree 125, 2022. Photography by Josh Raymond.

For more than a century, Tree 125 has been a part of the Country that sustains it and an arena in its own right. In Indigenous culture the Moreton Bay Fig is an embodiment of the Yaroma story, the Hairy Man, a wild and passionate force. 

This artwork weaves an audio journey in homage to this tree. Through speakers embedded in the seating around Tree 125, passers-by will be drawn into the immersive work – powerful and exhilarating, transcendent and meditative. 

Central to the sonic landscape will be a new solo drum performance recorded in the stadium. Weaving in and out of this central driving performance are integral sonic threads that speak to moments in this site’s history. Acclaimed Indigenous composer and performer William Barton will respond on site at Lachlan Swamp in Centennial Park with his powerful vocalising.

Other elements include recordings from Indigenous athletes and women’s football matches; to recordings of the Marching Band from Victoria Barracks.