Although tourists in Sydney go to Bondi Beach to take pictures with the murals and graffiti along the long concrete wall that runs along Sydney's most famous beach because it has been famous for street art from the 70s, street art in Sydney is most renowned in the suburb of Surry Hills, famous already among the locals for its cosy cafés, quirky fashion boutiques and second-hand shops. Here there are a lot of murals and street art installations which I got to visit also in 2020 because they are located outdoors and free to see for everyone.
The suburb has an underground feel, similar to the funky neighbourhoods of Newtown and Enmore where you can admire some of the best examples of street art in the city, including works commissioned by homeowners who wanted to decorate their homes, elevating graffiti to the status of prized works of art.
Now it’s possible to hire a Culture Scout for a walking tour to discover the most beautiful murals and learn more about how street art has transformed urban areas into open-air museums therefore increasing the value of homes in these neighbourhoods and attracting more businesses to open in these areas.
Art is not out of style after all, maybe the way we do and view art has changed…simply as that.
Sydney's most famous and loved mural is found right here in Newtown and it dates back to the 90s. It is a tribute to Martin Luther King and it is his motto and the first part of his most famous speech: “I have a dream…”
Although like many murals it was not commissioned but rather it was illegally painted overnight, it has been preserved by the city and it seems to have become part of the local heritage.
Although it is not specifically an art site, I would like to visit and I added to my bucket list also Sydney's Cockatoo Island: once abandoned, today it hosts a biennial of contemporary art for city connoisseurs and for all those hungry for culture. Together with other 10 other sites scattered across Australia; it is one of the most recent acquisitions in the world heritage list of UNESCO sites for humanity. It shall be very interesting because it tells a story of exile from one part of the world to the other when prisoners from England were moved to Australia and it supposedly tells the story how a new country was formed and created on the unfortunate grounds of inequality and adversity. Indeed, many Australians are still descendants and great-grandchildren of 18th and 19th century inmates from penal colonies, and the sites are prominent examples of Australia's rich history of inmates’ origins.
Alberto Ferrando ________________________________________________