Foley Street (between Palmer & Crown Streets), Darlinghurst
Curated by Juliet Rosser, Platform 72
Sarah Howell, Dylan Demarchi, The Dirt, byrd
A parade where the street becomes a stage.
WE ARE HERE is an inclusive proclamation of present and past. A spectacle inviting you in; you are here and WE ARE HERE.
The WE ARE HERE mural transforms Foley Street into a time-travelling, rambunctious romp through the complex history of the local area. Taking its cue from the hundreds of celebratory and solemn parades that have travelled up Oxford Street, the work turns the façade into a topographical map to create the WE ARE HERE parade route.
Deeply connected to the location this parade is filled with a motley crew of heroes, villains, musicians, bohemians and gangsters. Imbued with the ghosts of those who’ve come before; the prancers and preeners; bakers; brewers and street workers. This is a celebration of the folk who’ve made Darlinghurst their home or the source of their bread and butter.
The work - collaboratively executed by artists Sarah Howell, Dylan Demarchi, byrd, The Dirt & Gui Andrade - revives lost fragments of the area’s history and brings it firmly to the present. Using paint, collage, mixed media, photography and stencil, the mixed and contrasting mediums employed by the artists play with the inherent polarities of the Darlinghurst and Oxford Street narrative.
The often dark and gruesome history is melded with times of celebration. The work rejoices in the swinging pendulum of its fortunes, from cultural backwater to creative epicentre, from slum to designer living, a place of protest to a place of celebration, from the six o’clock swill to sophisticated cocktail culture, criminal to respectable, addict-ridden to health-driven. This is an area that has seen and been it all.
While the work honours the past, it also firmly places a stake in the ground for the present, celebrating the renewed creativity that is re-emerging in and around Oxford Street. The artists and the culture creators are here once again, building it with their hands (or the click of a mouse) and proclaiming: WE ARE HERE.
Juliet Rosser, Curator