Peter Murray

An annual weekend Aboriginal arts festival on the bridge – it’ll be Sydney’s biggest ‘do’!

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a symbol of connectivity extending far beyond the two shores of the harbour. It also joins the Eora and Kuring-Gai Aboriginal Nations. Its many thousands of hand-driven rivets speak of its origins as a depression-era recovery scheme, as does its immortal thirst for yet another coating of cold steel-grey paint.

Today, the vast black roadway is constantly crawling with cars and congestion. What if we could reimagine our city’s streets as places for more joyful activities?

This is Sydney’s greatest public realm opportunity. Let’s create an annual weekend-long reconciliation-themed festival. Giving the bridge back to the community for this event would enable us all to come together in one great space between the sea and the sky, helping us to bridge the gaps between our countries, peoples, and cultures. Such an event for people and the arts could also contribute to the local economy as a covid recovery scheme.

Painting would be the theme of the festival – reimagining the bridge as a giant immersive art gallery. We could chalk or paint the roadway in Indigenous-inspired designs, and paint the many faces of the people in all their diversity. Come nightfall, fires could be lit in drums for gathering, storytelling, and dreaming.

It wouldn’t matter if these vivid colours fade with the passing of time because the bridge will all get painted over again next year!

Let’s call it “Bridgeridoo”? It’ll be Sydney’s biggest ‘do’!

*Subject to Aboriginal community consultation.

Subscribe for updates on the Public Space Ideas Competition