Renowned artist Tracey Emin has paid homage to Sydney's migrant communities in a new installation in the heart of the Sydney.
The Distance of your Heart features 68 bronze sculptures. The small handmade birds are perched around the city, starting at Grosvenor Street and leading to a bird bath in Macquarie Place Park.
It will resonate with the many Sydney residents born overseas
The piece is reminiscent of Professor Emin's first ever public artwork, The Roman Standard, which was commissioned by the BBC in 2005 for the Liverpool art05 Festival. It is a small Liver bird that sits on a tall bronze pole, which London-based Emin has said represents femininity and strength.
But the Sydney-based birds have a different purpose: to comfort homesick migrants and travellers. Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who opened the installation this week, said in a statement that the piece will "resonate with the many Sydney residents born overseas", along with visitors to the city. Sydney has the greatest number of overseas-born residents of any city in Australia, many of whom live in the inner city.
The installation, which cost $912,000, is the first to be unveiled as part of the City of Sydney's City of Centre Public Art Program. The program is investing $9.3 million in art to accompany the NSW State Government's Light Rail Project.
Two other projects have been commissioned so far. Japanese architect Junya Ishigami's George Street arch and Hany Armanious milk-crate shaped pavilion will be completed before the Light Rail Project is finished.