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Artwork celebrates 40 years of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Written by gaytourism

Artists Matthew Aberline and Maurice Goldberg. | Photo: Supplied

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of the world’s most famous Pride events and has just celebrated its 40th birthday.

To commemorate the milestone, a massive art installation has gone up in the center of Sydney’s LGBTI hub at Taylor Square.

Called 40 Years of Love, artists Maurice Goldberg and Matthew Aberline used symbols to represent the five themes of repression, adversity, freedom, diversity and love.

We were struggling to describe a singular image to describe the history of Mardi Gras,’  Aberline said.

‘It’s so varied, political, sexual, and the history of it is so complicated, so rather than trying to find a singular item, we decided to make a microcosm of what Mardi Gras is about – the good stuff, the bad stuff, and the celebration.’

The installation sit a bit taller than a three-storey building.

‘We want people to notice this – it’s a big, sassy, loud, undeniably in-your-face installation,’ Goldberg said.

Photo from beneath an art installation

40 Years of Love is a tribute to Sydney’s Mardi Gras. | Photo: Supplied

The project represents historic Mardi Gras concepts such as public protest, joyous celebration, community activation and engagement. It also incorporates many colors and shapes to express that Mardi Gras is not a singular concept, but a mixture of diverse ideas, people, histories, politics and expressions.

The 360-degree work transforms the space into a light-filled outdoor pavilion so visitors are invited to walk through and explore its’ various images and symbols from different perspectives.

24 June, 1978

Depsite the annual Mardi Gras festival happening across February and March every year, the actual anniversary date in 24 June.

The first ever Mardi Gras started as parade to honor the Stonewall riots in New York. But it descended into chaos when police violently cornered LGBTI activists.

‘It’s our day – it’s our Stonewall. This is the anniversary of a 40 year revolution that began in blood, in tears, and behind bars,’ Goldberg said.

‘It destroyed lives. Here we are 40 years on, with incredible liberty. We can’t understate it – this is so much more than a party. This is us putting our stake in the ground. Over 40 years the diverse LGBTQI community has come so far.

A plaque in front of the artwork that reads 40 years of love

40 Years of Love. | Photo: Supplied

‘The 24th of June 1978 was the beginning of in-your-face revolution. This is a time to think about the people who actually risked their lives in 1978, and the evolutionaries and revolutionaries over the last 40 years.

‘The artists, the politicians, the social workers, the professionals, the drag queens, the trans people… I think it’s really important that we hold this day and remember it into the future.’

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