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Major public art opportunity worth $200,000

Brooke Boland

Artists are invited to submit proposals for artworks at three different sites in the new Patyegarang Place in Marrickville.
Major public art opportunity worth $200,000

Image: supplied.

Inner West Council is calling for proposals from contemporary artists across Australia and internationally for a major commission of three new public art works. One of the EOIs is specifically seeking submissions from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

The commissioned works will form an important part of a major development in Marrickville, Patyegarang Place. Set on the heritage grounds of the old hospital, Patyegarang Place will house the new Marrickville Library and community spaces. 

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‘These commissions represent a major opportunity for artists to embrace this beautiful historical site and to tell the story of this heritage and the history of the surrounding area, while also celebrating the contemporary nature of the place as a place for gathering, learning, and community celebration,’ said Inner West Council Arts and Cultural Development Coordinator Victoria Johnstone.

‘This is one of the most significant new developments of the Inner West in a long time.’  

Inner West Council is partnering with BVN Architects and Mirvac to develop the Old Marrickville Hospital site, bordered by Marrickville Road, Livingston Road and Lilydale Street. The three sites where the Council would like to see engaging works of art are Hospital Lane, Lilydale Corner Wall, and an Open Space Wall.

But just because there is wall space available, doesn't mean proposals need to be two-dimensional.

‘We are open to a wide range of art forms. It can be sculptural, it can be conceptual. We are not attached to any particular style or art form. It could be in front of the space, lighting effects, two-dimensional or three-dimensional … It might be street art, but it might not be,’ said Johnstone.

‘It is an exciting opportunity and because it is so significant we are really keen to get a wide range of artists interested, both emerging and established. It can be teams of artists working together as well.’

The first round of EOIs has a total commission of $200,000 available. 

  • Hospital Lane  $80,000
  • Lilydale Corner Wall $70,000
  • Open space wall $50,000

This is the starting point for commissions and Johnstone said other opportunities for artists will be available in future. ‘At the moment we just want to focus on these three sites,’ she said.

About the site

The development of Patyegarang Place is the culmination of community lobbying. Residents and councillors alike have worked tirelessly to maintain the site as a future community space for local residents and visitors. 

‘There was an original proposal that it might be sold off to developers but the community lobbied for many years to stop that from happening. It is just such a beautiful site and the BVN concept re-design really celebrates that history,’ said Johnstone. 

‘This is an opportunity for artists to celebrate that community story and that achievement of maintaining an extremely historically, culturally, and community relevant site.’

After close consultation with the local Aboriginal communities, the name Patyegarang was chosen, a reference to the influential Aboriginal woman who famously taught William Dawes her language.

The high profile Lilydale wall site, which is easily visible from Marrickville Road, is the site Council has identified as a commission for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artist. 

Artists interested in submitting an EOI and who would like to learn more about the opportunity are invited to contact the Council. 

‘Artists are welcome to contact me. We have a presentation ready that I’m happy to walk them through an architectural model of the entire site, plus lots of old artefacts, history items, photos, old letters, implements from the old hospital which are both beautiful and gory, and all sorts of reference materials,’ Johnstone explained. 

‘If anyone contacts me, I can make an appointment to meet them and show them everything we have.’ 

For more information visit www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/MarrickvilleLibraryArt

 Submissions close at 5pm, Tuesday 20 June.

About the author

Brooke Boland is a Melbourne-based freelance writer. She recently completed her PhD on gender, translation and women's writing and has tutored undergraduates at Victoria University and the University of NSW.

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