Construction of the Sydney Modern Project is creating a new home for art on the hoarding surrounding the site.
Sydney artist Joan Ross’ commissioned artwork, We have sung the same song for millions of years, a hand-painted digital vinyl print, has been installed on the hoarding. The 20-metre site-specific work pays homage to the longevity of the planet while recognising our human connections to place.
We have sung the same song for millions of years
This imaginative view of Sydney Harbour is not topographically accurate but quotes drawings and prints of the harbour made by colonial-era artist Joseph Lycett.
The land and its animals speak to us in English and Indigenous language. The birds – carriers of knowledge – represent both the endurance of Indigenous culture and the ancient history of Australia’s endemic plants and animals.
Indigenous figures share the space with settlers in Regency dress, including a naturalist, signifying the Enlightenment urge to collect, classify and name nature.
The ‘hi-vis’ fluorescent yellow colour symbolises authority and control and is a metaphor for colonisation. Elements from contemporary life, including the party decorations and cakes, construction cranes and warning signs, inject an element of sardonic humour into an epic tale of longevity and change.