Angel Place Artwork Launch - 'Forgotten Songs'

(5pm December 7 2011, Angel Place)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Angel Place! I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the 200 nationalities who make up our wonderful City.

Well, it's back by popular demand! This lovely art work was first installed here in late 2009, one of the temporary works for the By George! Laneways Art Program, and it remained in situ until the end of January 2010.

It obviously captured people's imaginations because during those few months, we received a number of requests asking for it to be permanently kept. Those requests were endorsed by our Public Art Advisory Panel and so as part of our Angel Place improvements, Forgotten Songs is now back to delight us.

As you can see from the bird names engraved in the paving, Michael Hill's work recalls for us the sound of pre-settler Sydney. It reminds us of all the layers that have made up our city, that echo here still if we care to look and listen for them.

It also shows us the transformative power of good public art - art that makes people pause, think and see their environment in a new way.

I thank Michael for his vision and also Dr Richard Major, scientist, designer Richard Wong, and programmer Dave Towey whose skills helped bring this unique work to life.

It's an important addition to our growing collection of public artworks and one that will become a much-loved feature of the City.

With the new paving and lighting and space for outdoor dining, pedestrians will be encourage to use the laneway as a place of respite as well as a thoroughfare. It's a foretaste of what we plan for other such forgotten spaces, and an exemplar of how they can add to the richness of our urban life and even bring a touch of magic to the everyday.

I thank everyone involved:

  • our City Projects team, especially Luan Trinh and Veronica Guadagnini and
  • our design consultants Aspect Studios; Arup Engineers; Lighting Art & Science and Partridge Partners
  • our principal construction contractor, Sam the Paving Man and the associated contractors
  • as well of course as the artist and his team.

I also want to thank the businesses and tenancies of this area. Remaking our streets and lanes is of necessity a messy and disruptive activity. Thank you all for your patience - I hope you'll agree the pain was worth the gain, especially as we see new life flow through this area.

Finally, thank you to two in particular - the Angel Café and the Pitt Stop Café who have supplied the catering for this evening.

Thank you all, and it's now my pleasure to ask Michael Hill to tell us a bit more about Forgotten Songs.