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Lighting of the Sails

Each year an artist of international renown is commissioned to create an original artwork for projection onto the Sydney Opera House that captures the spirit of the iconic landmark recognised as the cultural epicentre of Australia.

In 2019...

Austral Flora Ballet
with soundscape by Kelsey Lu

In 2019, Los Angeles-based Andrew Thomas Huang transformed the Sydney Opera House Sails with Austral Flora Ballet, accompanied by music from Vivid LIVE artist Kelsey Lu. The Chinese-American visual artist and filmmaker is admired as much for his sci-fi suffused artworks as for creating music videos for the likes of Björk, Sigur Rós and Thom Yorke in which bodies, objects and nature morph, intertwine and dispel in hallucinogenic fantasies.

Huang’s Austral Flora Ballet is a hypnotic fusion of contemporary dance and motion capture technology that brings our botanic wonders to life as never seen before. Together with choreographer Toogie Barcelo and the animation design team at Bemo in Los Angeles, Huang crafts a lush spectacle from such beloved floral gems as the New South Wales waratah, kangaroo paws and red beard orchids, all which have enormous connection for First Nations peoples to their country, story and dance. Australia’s unique native plant species have inspired the animated shapes, color palette and textures in this magnificent otherworldly opus.

Huang and Barcelo worked with dancer Genna Moroni to generate fluid arabesques in direct response to the sensuous arcs and rhythms of the Sydney Opera House Sails. Produced by dancing on a motion capture stage in front of projected images of the building, Barcelo’s choreography physically embodies the world-recognised silhouette. The result is a ‘ballet’ of dazzling floral avatars that bloom with human movement across the Sails of Sydney Opera House. Huang’s new piece underscores the connection between the human body, architecture and the natural world through the lens of Australia’s botanical treasures.

Content Creation Agency: Bemo
Production Company: Collider

Image: Daniel Boud

Watch all Lighting the Sails from the past decade

The Sails have been lit with stunning artwork from the past decade, from groundbreaking visual studios to the sacred art of our First Nations people. Journey back and watch all of these artworks and learn about the creators behind them.

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