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Your Favourite VIVID Sydney Light Show Just Became Permanent

The nightly Sydney Opera House sail projections will continue all year round.
June 22, 2016, 3:55am
The sails of the Sydney Opera House lit up as part of VIVID 2016. Image courtesy of Destination NSW

Perhaps the most iconic light show of VIVID 2016 was Songlines, a large scale animation honouring Bennelong Point’s rich Indigenous history that was projected across the sails of the Sydney Opera House for every night of the festival.

Although VIVID is over for this year, it looks like Sydneysiders will get to enjoy the projection permanently, with the Sydney Opera House Trust announcing today that generous private donations will help fund an indefinite continuation of the project—albeit on a slightly smaller scale.

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Songlines features the work of renowned Indigenous artists Karla Dickens, Djon Mundine OAM, Reko Rennie, Gabriella Possum, Donny Woolagoodja and the late Gulumbu Yunipingu. At the launch of VIVID 2016, Songlines director and Sydney Opera House Head of Indigenous Programming Rhoda Roberts called it “a monumental work and an unprecedented opportunity for people around the world to really connect with the culture of Australia’s First People…the songlines are a living map and an archive of our culture.”

At the launch of VIVID this year, Songlines director and Sydney Opera House Head of Indigenous Programming Rhoda Roberts called Songlines “a monumental work and an unprecedented opportunity for people around the world to really connect with the culture of Australia’s First People….the songlines are a living map and an archive of our culture.”

Speaking to The Australian earlier today, Sydney Opera House chief executive Louise Herron indicated her intention for Songlines to become synonymous with Sydney Harbour. “What we want to do is have something in Sydney which is the equivalent to the changing of the guard in London, something which is quintessentially Sydney and Australia,” she said.

The permanent Songlines installation will be on a slightly smaller scale than the one from VIVID, with the animations being projected onto Bennelong Restaurant—the smallest sail of the Opera House—only. Contemporary Indigenous art has a particular resonance at the Bennelong site, which was known to the Gadigal people for thousands of years as Tubowgule—"where the knowledge waters meet”.

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It’s estimated that projecting the artwork year-round will cost at least $1 million, funded entirely by private donors. Sydney Opera House patrons Nicholas Moore and Deborah Mailman have put their hands up so far.

Around 1.7 million people visited VIVID Sydney this year, enjoying multifaceted interaction light installations from local and international artists.

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