Sydney to be Transformed into a Rainbow City for Sydney WorldPride
Sydney will be transformed into a Rainbow City for Sydney WorldPride 2023, with organisations across Greater Sydney including the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, and the Scenic Skyway in Katoomba, installing free, public artworks to celebrate the 17-day LGBTQIA+ festival and welcome to world to Sydney.
The installations include a 50-metre-long abstract floral rainbow wall made up of around 18,000 colourful plants at The Calyx inside the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney – one of the largest living green walls in the Southern Hemisphere.
The floral rainbow wall forms part of the Garden’s new Love Your Nature horticultural exhibition, which fittingly celebrates the diverse world of plant-love with a kaleidoscope of colour, plants and passion.
The City of Sydney will install its own floral installations, including planter boxes and a floral wall, which will be created using hundreds of plants and foliage in the colours of the rainbow flag.
Randwick Council will also update its famous 27-metre-long rainbow walkway at Coogee Beach to add the colours of the Progress Flag, a version of the traditional rainbow flag that includes additional stripes to represent people of colour and the trans community.
In the Blue Mountains, Katoomba’s famous Scenic Skyway will be transformed into a giant progress flag, a dramatic vision set against the World Heritage landscapes of the Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley.
Meanwhile, the University of Sydney will showcase a night-time rainbow mural throughout the festival at its Footbridge Gallery at the University’s Camperdown campus. Made of rainbow LED lights, the mural will mark the 45th anniversary of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2023. Designed by award-winning interactive designer and diversity advocate, Dr Xavier Ho, the mural will be unveiled to coincide with the University’s inaugural Hunt-Simes Institute in Sexuality Studies, which is being launched to coincide with Sydney WorldPride 2023.
The aim is to have 45 artworks part of Rainbow City, to celebrate 45 years of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Public space holders in Greater Sydney can contact Sydney WorldPride to express their interest, as long as the artworks are free to access, substantial and have no branding as part of the artwork. Artworks can take any form – from flowers and lights to water and sculpture, and can be based on any interpretation of the rainbow.
A Rainbow City map will be published in early February to allow Sydneysiders and visitors alike to travel the city to view the glorious kaleidoscope of rainbow art.
Sydney WorldPride Chief Executive, Kate Wickett, said: “It is so exciting to see organisations from all sectors across Sydney – from public institutions to businesses –embrace WorldPride in such a positive way.
“Sydney is a world-class city that celebrates diversity, and I can’t wait for visitors to see the fantastic display of support for the LGBTQIA+ community when more than 500,000 take part in Sydney WorldPride next year.”
Chief Executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Denise Ora, said: “We are so proud to transform our iconic green wall inside The Calyx at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney into a stunning floral rainbow display to celebrate plant diversity, Sydney WorldPride and our vibrant LGBTQIA+ community. Our talented horticulture and design teams are also converting the fountain at the entrance to The Calyx into in a unique circular style rainbow of plants to support World Pride month”.
Clover Moore, the Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney, said: “We’re excited to be part of the Rainbow City project and look forward to seeing our city dressed in the vibrant colours of the rainbow. A key feature of our Living Colour floral program will be a huge wall created with hundreds of plants and foliage in each colour of the gay pride flag. Complementing the project and our Living Colour program, will be our iconic rainbow crossing at Taylor Square in the heart of Sydney’s LGBTQIA+ district.”
Mayor of Randwick, Councillor Dylan Parker, said: “Randwick Council is proud to partner with Sydney World Pride as part of Rainbow City.
“The Coogee Rainbow is a celebration for our vibrant queer community. Positioned right at the entry of Coogee Beach the rainbow celebrates diversity, inclusion and boldly acknowledges our LGBTQIA+ community. Currently, the Coogee Rainbow includes the six colours of the Pride Flag in the shape of a rainbow, linked to Pride and Mardi Gras.
“In 2023, I am proud to announce that for Sydney World Pride we will be updating the Coogee Rainbow to include the progressive pride flag colours, as a show of support for diversity and inclusiveness.
“I can’t wait to see the beautiful Coogee rainbow updated with the new colours, in time for Sydney World Pride and see our community celebrating on the sands!”
Anthea Hammon, Managing Director of Scenic World, said: “It is an absolute thrill and privilege to be part of Rainbow City.
“What a sight it will be to see the Scenic Skyway transform into a giant Progress Flag floating above the Jamison Valley!
“Being able to host a rainbow in regional centres, such as the Blue Mountains, is really fantastic – not only for international visitors to experience more of our beautiful country, but also for our local LGBTQIA+ community, to feel part of the bigger celebrations.”
Lee Wallace, Director of the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre at the University of Sydney, said: “The Centre is extremely proud to be part of Rainbow City with a mural of lights and to be commemorating 45 years of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which has always countered violence and intolerance with colour, music and imagination.
“The University of Sydney continues that tradition and welcomes all queer visitors and their friends onto our campus at dusk to see Xavier Ho’s brilliant light mural.”
The full list of rainbows will be turned into an interactive map which people can use to visit all the activations during Sydney WorldPride 2023.
Sydney WorldPride is accepting applications from public space holders who would like to be part of Rainbow City.
Sydney WorldPride is taking place between 17 February to 5 March 2023. Over 17 days, Sydney will host more than 300 LGBTQIA+ events, including Rainbow Republic presented by Optus, Blak & Deadly: The First Nations Gala Concert, as well as the much-loved Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, which will be returning to Oxford Street for the first time in three years.
To see the Rainbow City grow in number in the coming months, please visit www.sydneyworldpride.com/rainbow-city
Sydney WorldPride is proudly supported by Principal Partner, American Express, Strategic Partner, Destination NSW and Government Partner, City of Sydney.
More Information About the Installations
The Calyx at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
The Calyx (pron. kal-iks) is a hub of activity located in the heart of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. It is defined as ‘the sepals of a flower, typically forming a whorl that encloses the petals and forms a protective layer around a flower bud’. It
The Calyx is home to one of the largest green walls in the southern hemisphere, which has been transformed for World Pride into an abstract floral rainbow installation made up of over 18,000 colourful plants.
The rainbow wall of plants forms part of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s new Love Your Nature exhibition, which celebrates the diverse world of plant-love with a kaleidoscope of colour, plants and passion. The new exhibition opened on Monday 26th of September 2022 and runs until Winter 2024 and is open daily from 10am to 4pm.
The plants in The Calyx’s green wall will continue to grow and bloom, allowing visitors to watch the floral rainbow wall change throughout the two-year long Love Your Nature exhibition.
Along with offering visitors a truly unique and immersive botanical experience, The Calyx is also home to a new cafe, a retail shop and it hosts an exciting range of events and workshops
City of Sydney Floral Installations
The City of Sydney is working on plans to celebrate Sydney WorldPride with a range of floral installations across the area, including a green wall (location to be advised), and planter boxes in the CBD. Pending approvals, the floral tributes, in the colours of the rainbow flag, will be installed ahead of Sydney WorldPride in 2023.
Coogee Beach Rainbow Walkway
Coogee Beach’s rainbow walkway was opened by Randwick Mayor Danny Said, Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger, Destination NSW CEO Steve Cox in 2021 to show support for Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and the LGBTQIA+ community.
The updated rainbow walkway will be unveiled in time for Sydney WorldPride and will be a permanent feature of Coogee Beach.
The rainbow walkway can be found on the lower main steps of Coogee Beach near the corner of Arden Street and Coogee Bay Road, Coogee.
Scenic Skyway, Katoomba
The Scenic Skyway in Katoomba is a much-loved tourist attraction in Sydney’s Blue Mountains, providing views of the Jamison Valley, the Three Sisters and the rainforest canopy below. First opened in 1958, it is the largest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere. The Skyway’s progress flag will be installed ahead of the Sydney WorldPride festival in 2023.
University of Sydney’s “45” Mural
Situated on the Footbridge Gallery’s Dash Wall in the University’s Camperdown campus, the mural celebrates the 45 years of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras by animating the number “45”.
The light installation is inspired by the rainbow font “Gilbert,” originally designed by Hayato Yamasaki after the late Gilbert Baker (1951-2017), the gay right’s activist and creator of the rainbow flag.
The artwork will open on 17 February and be illuminated every night until 20 March 2023. Best seen at twilight, it is a family-friendly exhibition with music programmed on an outside sound stage from 19:00-21:00 each night during the Sydney WorldPride festival.
The artwork coincides with the inaugural Hunt Simes Institute in Sexuality Studies (HISS), which is named in memory of lexographer Gary Simes, a Sydney alumni who died in 2017, leaving a generous bequest, and his collection of sexology books, to the University of Sydney.