Culture

’40 Years Of Love’: Taylor Square’s Inflated Installation

If you’ve visited Sydney’s Taylor Square recently then you must have seen a giant colourful inflatable artwork. It’s kind of hard to miss. Once you saw it, we bet your first thought was: “What in the world is that thing?”

The piece crowned ’40 Years of Love’ was created by local artists Matthew Aberline and Maurice Goldberg to commemorate 40 years of Mardi Gras.

“We were struggling to describe… the history of Mardi Gras – it’s so varied, political, sexual, and the history of it is so complicated,” Matthew said on the Mardi Gras website. “So rather than trying to find a singular item, we decided to make a microcosm of what Mardi Gras is about – the good stuff, the bad stuff, and the celebration.”

’40 Years of Love’ artwork at Taylor Square. Image: Christopher Kelly

If you study the imposing artwork more closely, you can note all the various symbols and objects revealing the vibrant life of Sydney’s Mardi Gras.

“And upon lingering investigation, you’ll find hidden messages, hidden layers, even a ‘naughty corner’”, said Matthew.

“We wanted people to sit under it, lay under it, wander around it and wonder at this huge pink triangle that’s loaded with imagery.

“This is a full-on celebration, even though it embodies all the tough stuff as well.”

Along with the happy memories and painful stories, there’s another aspect to this artwork that unites the LGBTQI community: inclusion.

“The gay community is not a single entity. It is so many different things to different people. Capturing all those separate microcosms but creating something that had unity was a really fabulous challenge.”

Matthew and Maurice even worked with gay Aboriginal artist, Lawrence Shearer, to help create a symbol to represent First Nations People.

“He created one called ‘inclusion’ which describes a fishing watering hole where everybody’s welcome,” says Matthew.

’40 Years of Love’ artwork at Taylor Square. Image: Christopher Kelly

Maurice pointed out a common misconception around the official date of Mardi Gras: it’s actually on the 24th of June, not in early March.

“It’s our day – it’s our Stonewall,” Maurice said. “This is the anniversary of a 40-year revolution that began in blood, in tears, and behind bars.

“It destroyed lives. Here we are 40 years on, with incredible liberty. We can’t understate it – this is so much more than a party. This is us putting our stake in the ground. Over 40 years the diverse LGBTQI community has come so far.

“The 24th of June, 1978 was the beginning of in-your-face revolution. This is a time to think about the people who actually risked their lives in 1978, and the evolutionaries and revolutionaries over the last 40 years. The artists, the politicians, the social workers, the professionals, the drag queens, the trans people… I think it’s really important that we hold this day and remember it into the future.”

The inflatable artwork will grace Taylor Square until September 2018.

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