Opening of 13 Rooms

(7pm, Thursday 11 April, Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay)

Thank you, John [Kaldor], and hello, everyone. What an exciting opportunity it is to be here this evening. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.

I also welcome the international curators and artists to Sydney, not our young artists from Brisbane who created the 13th room.

Once again, Kaldor Public Art Projects has brought a project to our City that will intrigue, provoke and I'm sure, delight audiences. An immersive experience that gives us a new way of looking at art, a new way of thinking about what art is, and how it can be presented and experienced.

Over the next 11 days, this historic landmark building - transformed for this exhibition thanks to the work of Harry Seidler & Associates - will also host free public programs each day - talks, workshops, tours, and late-night programs which certainly open the experience up for Sydneysiders of all ages.

With over 140 performers taking part in the project, and more artists, curators and industry professionals involved in the public programs, this is a massive undertaking.

It shows what can be done when passionate arts advocates like John Kaldor, partner with the City and others to make it happen.

It also comes at a time when the City is engaging with our cultural and creative sector in a series of conversations about Creative Sydney.

We've commissioned a discussion paper on Cultural Policy and our conversations are looking at some of the questions raised in that paper: how we might become better at fostering creativity and innovation, for example, where we might build new partnerships, where best to direct resources and how to ensure that young creative people - a future Hirst to Baldessari - can afford to live and work in our City.

Sydney's reputation as a global city can't rest solely on its role as a financial hub in the Asia-Pacific region, or even on that fabulous harbour out there.

It also has to be a city of rich layers, of multiple meanings, of new discoveries - and of course, of engaged audiences as well.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank John and Naomi Kaldor for all they have done, and continue to do, to foster that kind of Sydney.

And to thank them, and everyone involved in this wonderful project, for bringing 13 Rooms to Sydney.

The City is proud to support it.