OUTPOST PROJECT – Banky’s street art on Cockatoo Island, Sydney

The disused factories are the perfect setting for street art

I thought the fun of doing street art was that you did it in secret, when no-one was looking, in a place you weren’t supposed to be. Countless local councils have tried to combat unwanted graffiti by designating legal street art walls. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has gone a step further, giving street artists, skateboarders and visitors an island to play on for a month.

Outpost Project, Art from the Streets is the title of this event on Cockatoo Island, in the middle of the harbour. The only way to get there is by ferry, a short and very pleasant trip out from Circular Quay and under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

It was great to see the event attracting a big crowd of young people, tourists and locals, as well as ageing bloggers.

There was a distinct air of expectation as we arrived from the ferry.

World Heritage-listed Cockatoo Island has a clutter of abandoned factories, warehouses and docks, rusting cranes and mysterious tunnels. It’s a wonderful venue for a large scale art event.

Only in Sydney...

A bit new-Agey for me, but others seem to like it.

Not all street art has to be aggressive. This was fun.

It's a great place for photographers, though it's hard to see what you've shot. Artwork by DEB, I believe.

I was delighted to see BUGAUP represented. The Billboard Utilising Graffitists Against Unhealthy Promotions specialised in witty adaptations of tobacco billboards. They and others won their case, and tobacco advertising has long been banned in Australia.

Mini Graff's work had some edge to it.

The rusting machinery makes a brilliant contrast with the 'in your face' art.

It needs a huge space to house Kid Zoom's house and three burned out Holden Commodores.

Tunnels through the island have been converted to gallery spaces.

I don't know the artist's name, but I liked it anyway.

This is not really to my taste, but I wanted to get a crane in the frame.

Belgian artist ROA had a whole wall to fill in on his own. I loved his work in progress.

...and he was working incredibly fast. Must those years of working in the street, wondering how long it will be before someone calls the cops.

Hidden away on the outside of a warehouse. I like this.

The famously secretive Banksy is represented in the Oi You! collection of George and Shannon Shaw. It was so secret that I couldn't find it in the Cockatoo Island rabbit warren. so I had to download this Banksy image. It's there somewhere, I know.

Even without the art, Cockatoo Island has some extraordinary visuals just lying around. It’s open to the public and free any time of year. You can even stay there in cabins or camp overnight, then wake up in the middle of Sydney. I must try it some time.

No, they're not sculptures, but they could be.

Outpost runs from November 4 – December 11, 2011. Entry is free.


Filed under Art, Travel-Australia

8 responses to “OUTPOST PROJECT – Banky’s street art on Cockatoo Island, Sydney

  1. Fiona Gillies

    looks and sounds fab – i had not heard of this until I read this. I love Cockatoo Island.
    Thanks Richard

  2. Loved watching the installation progress on my daily commute past Cockatoo on the ferry – a visit is on the for Friday with my daughter – a keen Banksy aficionado, so hope we find his work.

    • It shouldn’t be hard to find, Kate. Just study the map. I was too busy following the big stuff to bother with such details.

      Banksy is in one of the smaller inside spaces. I’ll be going back soon to look at the things I missed or didn’t give enough time to – there’s such a lot there.

  3. I have never heard of this place, but what an inspiring and unusual backdrop for street artists – so glad you went to snap some pictures, Richard!

    • Hi Reggie, It’s not the first time Cockatoo Island has hosted art – the big Sydney Biennale is regularly held there. But because of its industrial history and feel, it’s an edgy urban environment, perfect for this sort of show.

  4. Brian Morris

    What a coincidence –> …. Just as I read your Facebook Lili came in and said she’s planned a trip to Cockatoo Island for us and her friends on Sunday! And last night at the Association of Professors annual dinner I had the Prof of Economics tell me all about Cockatoo Island because he lives at Hunter’s Hill.

    • Hope you all enjoy it, Brian. Maybe the Association of Professors could go out there too. I see there’s a skateboarding clinic out there on Sunday – the Economics Professors would love that! It is a very enjoyable show anyway. Cheers!

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