The Redfern Terrace builds on a long tradition of sharing stories through art, and marks the beginning of the City of Sydney’s visionary Eora Journey program. The terrace on Caroline Street sits at the heart of a neighbourhood known for its Aboriginal history and activism, community life and cultural expression.
– Hetti Perkins, Eora Journey Curatorial Advisor
Welcome to Redfern is a striking mural covering an entire terrace house in Redfern. The remaining end terrace at the corner of Caroline and Hugo Streets, Redfern, forms a landmark and monument to the neighbourhood’s Aboriginal history, activism, community and culture. Artist Reko Rennie and a group of local young Aboriginal artists transformed this Victorian-era terrace at The Block with vibrant graphic designs and murals of inspiring Aboriginal leaders.
The street art creative process
Artist Reko Rennie worked with a dedicated group of young Aboriginal artists from the local area in a series of street art workshops in December 2012 and January 2013.
The project was inspired by a call from local communities to provide a place for young people and artists to practice their art. The City of Sydney’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel, along with curatorial advisor Hetti Perkins, oversaw the project.
Rennie worked with the youth artists as a group and one-on-one to develop themes and ideas such as ‘local heroes’. On a practical level he provided workshop participants with the skills or ‘tricks of the trade’ to realise the work.
The skills explored included stencilling, projection, freehand spraypainting, and paste-ups, and allowing time to consider their ideas and concepts for the work. Technology, such as scanning, was also used to realise ideas.
The workshops were facilitated by the City of Sydney Youth Services, the Tribal Warrior Association, the Redfern Community Centre and other local youth facilities. The young artists were engaged through the Aboriginal Employment Services and paid for their contributions. The artwork was installed March 2013.
Reko Rennie is a Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay/Gummaroi man, born in Melbourne. Rennie received no formal artistic training, but as a teenager he discovered graffiti, which would become an all-consuming passion. He quickly began producing original art on the streets of Melbourne and matured into an interrogative and highly innovative artist.
Through his art, Rennie explores what it means to be an urban Aboriginal in contemporary Australian society. His art and installations continually explore issues of identity, race, law and justice, land rights, stolen generations and other issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Drawing inspiration from his Aboriginal heritage, he recreates traditional images in a contemporary context using neon, projection, installation and spray paint.
Young artists drawn from the local community participated in workshops and worked together to create this public artwork. The artists were Nahdia Noter, Trae Campbell, Ji Duncan-Weatherby, Tyrrelle McGrath, Brandon Phillips, Isaac Phillips Josh Addo and Josh Nolan.