CLEVELAND STEET BRIDGE ART INSTALLATION
Balarinji was commissioned by Sydney Trains to develop a community-inspired, timeless contemporary and original concept for new safety screens on the Cleveland Street Bridge in Redfern, NSW. Balarinji was also commissioned to coordinate the fabrication of the installation.
The installation was awarded a Silver in the Urban Design category of the 2020 Sydney Design Awards. The award celebrates creativity and innovation in the process of designing and shaping cities, towns and villages, and is about making connections between people and places, movement and urban form, nature and the built fabric.
Balarinji worked with local Gadigal artist Nadeena Dixon to develop her traditional iconography into a contemporary design response that explores the Indigenous narrative of the Redfern area and reflects the Gadigal Country that lies beneath the modern Cleveland Street Bridge intersection.
Nadeena’s artwork that was translated for the design of the installation shows Gadigal men and women, shell middens, the nearby Shea Creek water system, native Salt Grass and surrounding Sydney Estuary water plant life.
By depicting these themes in a continuous line style, it speaks to the resilience and continuity of both the Gadigal community and Country. The artwork also educates commuters on the importance of Gadigal culture and ecosystem, including a variety of endangered botanical species that can be found in the area.
Balarinji undertook community stakeholder engagement to explore local stories, sites, themes and local artist endorsements. The themes uncovered included language, moving forward to a bright future, healing, and a place of resilience.
Following this was a body of art workshop with the community-endorsed local artists to explore potential art imagery that could be incorporated into the design. From this workshop, Gadigal artist Nadeena Nixon’sartwork was chosen to form the basis of the design.
The result was a contemporary artwork installation over 90 metres of screening that is a piece of communication in harmony with its surroundings, is connected authentically and deeply to Place and Country, and celebrates the rich and ancient Gadigal culture.
“Congratulations to the Balarinji team for being recognised for your beautiful work, translating my art concepts into the built environment in a strong and cultural way. I’m very pleased that the work is recognised for its innovation and sharing story on Country is having a lovely impact. I’m very proud to be a part of this project.”
Gadigal artist Nadeena Dixon, 2020