Sydney to be Transformed into a Rainbow City for WorldPride

An artist impression of what the progress pride flag will look like projected onto Sydney Opera House at night

Sydney is being transformed into a Rainbow City to celebrate Sydney WorldPride, with museums, businesses, councils among a number of organisations installing rainbow public artworks across the city.  

In all, 45 free public artworks will be unveiled to mark 45 years of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, with the installations stretching from the Royal Botanic Gardens, to Manly Beach, to Wollongong and all the way to the Scenic Skyway in the Blue Mountains.

For one special night, the Sydney Opera House will be lit up with a Progress Pride Flag on 17 February to mark the start of Sydney WorldPride, in a visible display of welcome to locals and tourists alike.

In the city, the Australian property industry – in collaboration with LGBTQIA+ property and construction industry group BuildingPride – will be lighting up six iconic buildings that stretch from Circular Quay to Sydney Tower in the CBD, in the colours of the pride flag. The buildings will be lit up on 24-26 Feb and 3-5 March to coincide with Sydney WorldPride events in The Domain.

A digital render of Sydney CBD at night with an artist impression of 5 building lit up: red, orange, yellow, blue and purple to give a rainbow effect to the skyline
Building Pride
An artist impression of what Dylan Mooney's Still Thriving artwork will look like on the Top of the Town building in Kings Cross during the day
Still Thriving, Dylan Mooney

The biggest painted artwork is by First Nations artist Dylan Mooney, who will be working with a team of muralists to paint the northern side of the Top of the Town building in Darlinghurst. The mural, part of Mooney’s ‘Still Thriving’ series and supported by the City of Sydney’s Art and About program, is a powerful representation of queer Indigenous identities on a grand scale.

Artist Dylan Mooney said: “I feel honoured to be given the platform to share my work with Sydney WorldPride. My work focuses on authentic representations of the queer Indigenous community, representing connection to Country and our love for each other. It means a great deal that those often under-represented can stand proudly and defiantly sharing tender moments.”

Meanwhile from Friday 17 February, the façade of Sydney’s Jewish Museum in Darlinghurst will be covered with rainbow illustrations by local artist Leo Greenfield. Inspired by the traditional art forms of paper cutting and wood printing, the design incorporates distinctively Jewish motifs including the Star of David and the pomegranate, a traditional Jewish symbol of love.

In Northern Sydney, Taronga Zoo Sydney’s giant bronze gorilla, Queen Nyani (formerly King Nyani) created by public artists Gillie and Marc, will be decked out with a giant rainbow cape and recline under the lights cast by an array of disco balls hung from the fig tree above him.

Kate Wickett, Sydney WorldPride’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “It is a sign of how much things have changed since the first Mardi Gras in 1978, that businesses, organisations and institutions across Sydney are coming together in a visible display of support for the LGBTQIA+ community and turning the city rainbow for WorldPride.

“What an incredible welcome to this wonderful and inclusive city. I couldn’t be prouder to see these 45 rainbow installations come to life in the coming days.”

Ben Franklin, Minister for Tourism and the Arts, said visitors and Sydneysiders will be blown away by the vibrant colour that will enliven Sydney for WorldPride.

“Whether its floral walls, decal on streets, scenic cable cars, murals on buildings, light installations, tunnels, fountains, flags or ferris wheels, the city is about to be reimagined in all the colours of the rainbow for Sydney WorldPride,” Mr Franklin said.

“We are ready to welcome 78,000 visitors to Sydney for this explosion of art, culture, sport and to celebrate the biggest Pride event in the world.

“Sydney WorldPride is the rainbow-coloured celebration that Sydney needs to provide local businesses with a huge $112 million economic boost to the visitor economy. The festival will also contribute to and promote Sydney’s night-time economy, showcasing the city as a destination that is vibrant, diverse and inclusive.”

Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney, Clover Moore, said: “Sydney WorldPride is the rainbow celebration we all need after a challenging few years.

“Rainbows are used to reflect both the diversity and unity of the LGBTQIA+ community, and I’m proud to welcome everyone to our truly diverse and global city.”

Sydney Jewish Museum CEO Kevin Sumption PSM says: “The Museum is thrilled to take part in Rainbow City, as an opportunity to showcase to the world the rich and diverse experiences of the Jewish LGBTQIA+ community here in Sydney. It’s also an incredible chance to highlight the movement in the wider Jewish community to stand together with the LGBTQIA+ community, in recognition of shared persecution during the Holocaust, but also in celebration of the triumphs in human rights made in the years since.”

Simon Duffy, Executive Director of Taronga Zoo, said: “First there was Progress Shark and now there’s Queen Nyani!

“Taronga embraces all people and animals and we are delighted to be involved in WorldPride’s Rainbow City activation. Since his unveiling King Nyani has been a much-loved addition to the Taronga Zoo family, by both staff and guests and has played an important role in helping Taronga raise the profile for gorilla conservation.

“While King Nyani has been lending a hand to raise awareness for his wild counterparts, we are now very proud that he will be lending a hand promoting diversity and inclusion as part of WorldPride.”

Other rainbows include a rainbow Ferris Wheel at Luna Park Sydney, a light installation at PHIVE in Parramatta and an ‘Embrace the Rainbow’ activation in Pacific Square, Maroubra.

The full list of Rainbow City installations, with information about the dates the installations will be available to view, is on the Sydney WorldPride website:

Visitors and locals alike are encouraged to visit all the artworks, sharing their content with #RainbowCity and #SydneyWorldPride.

Join the Sydney WorldPride community on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Acknowledgement of country

Sydney WorldPride will take place on the lands of the Gadigal, Cammeraygal, Bidjigal, Darug, Dharawal people who are the Traditional Custodians of the Sydney Basin.

We pay our Respects to their Elders past and present. Always was Always will be Aboriginal Land.

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people come from many different clans and communities across Australia & in 2023 will come together as one, to celebrate with our global LGBTQIA+ community.