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Art at the House

To step inside the Sydney Opera House is to immerse yourself in a world of wonder and creativity. From the foyers to the glass walls to the paintings and the tapestries, the interiors have been designed and put together in a way that aspires to the promise of the building itself, a living sculpture on Sydney Harbour.

An animated tapestry art wallpaper.

Tapestries at the House

The four tapestries that call the Opera House home reveal fascinating stories about the Opera House’s rich cultural heritage and design legacy. The Sydney Opera House tapestries - Le Corbusier’s Les Dés sont Jetés or The Die Is Cast (1960), John Coburn’s Curtain of the Sun and Curtain of the Moon (1973), and Jørn Utzon’s Homage to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (2004) – are all strikingly beautiful works of modern art.

Jagamara photographed in black and white sitting on carpeted steps in front of the mural 'Possum Dreaming'.

Michael Nelson Jagamara and Possum Dreaming

In 1988, Michael Nelson Jagamara’s monumental 10-metre painting Possum Dreaming was installed at the Opera House, in the Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre. This traditional Warlpiri narrative lends itself to an operatic setting, portraying a tale of forbidden love and retribution.

John Olsen at the Sydney Opera House

The artworks of John Olsen are celebrations of landscape and life, a joyful affirmation of optimism and creativity that remained constant over the many decades he held a brush. A giant of the Australian art world, Olsen’s work is held in major collections around the world, and forms part of the fabric of the Sydney Opera House itself.

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Lighting of the Sails 2023: Life Enlivened by John Olsen and Curiious

We farewelled one of Australia’s most admired artists, Dr John Olsen AO OBE. We proudly paid tribute to Olsen’s extraordinary six-decade career in Lighting of the Sails: Life Enlivened when his works were animated and projected on the Opera House sails for Vivid Sydney in 2023.

Michael Nelson Jagamara wearing a beige suit jacket over a blue and white checked shirt and wide brim hat, standing in front of an artwork in pastel colours.

A Possum Story

Michael Jagamara was born into and revelled in a time of great change and opportunities. Following the end of World War II, abstract expressionism had arrived in the Australian art world and Sidney Nolan completed his Ned Kelly series. Also in that year, in the north part of Western Australia, in an amazingly unread, event, at least 800 Aboriginal pastoral workers walked off the job and began one of the longest industrial strikes in Australian history.

Listen Art

House Stories Season 1: The Tapestries

Design enthusiast, comedian and broadcaster Tim Ross takes us through the archives to unravel how the four Opera House tapestries came to be designed.