UPLIGHTING, ACCENT, FEATURE

WE-EF sheds light on Indigenous military past

Sydney, NSW

Lighting of a new sculptural memorial in Hyde Park has created a night-time effect that is discrete but still manages to draw attention to the installation.

The City of Sydney sought the services of Lighting Art+Science (LA+S) to assist with the lighting of the memorial – Yininmadyemi, Thou Didst Let Fall by Tony Albert – in Hyde Park, Sydney. The artwork commemorates the service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait women and men who were instrumental in World War II but not treated as equals.

Sydney-based Aboriginal Girramay artist Tony Albert’s family has more than 80 years of combined military service. The concept for the artwork comes from the artist, whose vision draws on the experiences of his family’s service in the Australian military. Tony Albert and the City of Sydney also acknowledge Trisha Albert, author of Unsung Heroes for her initial research on the story of Tony’s grandfather Eddie Albert. Eddie enlisted and served in the Australian Army during WWII, and it is his story upon which Tony Albert’s concept for the artwork is based.

The project posed some interesting challenges both in the site and nature of the materials used. The brief required a soft lighting effect that created a dramatic scene however tied back to the War Memorial Podium and The Pool of Reflection.

A series of ground mounted LED surface spotlights and LED inground uplights from WE-EF were used to create an interesting, thoughtful lighting scheme. Richard Mason from LA+S said, “Inground lighting was needed between the monument elements so people didn’t have a light to trip over”. Surrounding the monument, a number of FLC131 projectors were used to highlight the ‘bullets’ that form part of the artwork. “The projectors allowed for the use of lenses and glare shields to direct light where it was needed and not elsewhere,” said Mr Mason, adding that WE-EF equipment was chosen for this project due to its resistance to water ingress, the lighting quality and control.

The artwork is composed of four standing bullets and three fallen shells. The bullet is a universal signifier for conflict. The arrangement of the bullets, with some standing and some fallen, represents those who survived and those who were sacrificed. The artwork also references the circumstances faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women when they returned to Australia. They were treated differently from their white Australian comrades who were given land for their service while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were still having their land taken away.

Hyde Park South was chosen as the location for the artwork due to its status and historical significance. The site was once a ritual contest ground, a crossroads for traditional walking trails, and an important site for ceremony, gathering and camping. It is also home to the ANZAC Memorial. “This monument is sited away from the War Memorial and Pool of Reflection, in close proximity to Elizabeth Street so is able to be viewed as a distinct element within Hyde Park south,” said Mr Mason. “However, the warmth of the monument lighting makes it relate suitably to the War Memorial façade lighting.”

Yininmadyemi, Thou Didst Let Fall by Tony Albert commemorates the service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait women and men who were instrumental in World War II but not treated as equals.

The brief required a soft lighting effect that created a dramatic scene however tied back to the War Memorial Podium and The Pool of Reflection.

A series of ground mounted LED surface spotlights and LED inground uplights from WE-EF were used to create an interesting, thoughtful lighting scheme.

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