Customs House


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Chalk Urban Art 2014

Location: Customs House Square

Dates: 19 26 October 2014

Wednesday 22 October: Screening of 'Chalk: An Australian Perspective', Customs House Library 6.30pm 8pm, Artists talks by Jenny McCracken, Anton Pulvirenti, Leon Keer

Customs House forecourt will become an outdoor gallery and host a spectacular 3D artwork created by Australia's most highly awarded pavement artist, Jenny McCracken and internet sensation Leon Keer from the Netherlands.

The two artists will lead a team of Australian pavement artists to produce a fantastic artwork that will be visited by thousands and will go viral on social media and seen all over the world. Throughout the week the public will see the artwork come to life on the pavement and have the opportunity to speak to the artists while they work.

Jenny McCraken

Leon Keer

Anton Pulvirenti


15 September – 26th of October 2014

Ground Floor, Monday to Friday 8am to Midnight, Saturday 10am to Midnight, Sunday 11am to 5pm

LEVEL 1/2 Monday to Friday 10am to 7pm, Saturday to Sunday 11am to 4pm

CURATOR Angus Leendertz
ASSISTANT CURATOR James Mohr and Tracy Dunn
PROJECT TEAM Meredith Burgmann, Jane Harris, Natalie Hendricks, Ish Larney, Kolin Thumbadoo and Pat Wagner

In 1994 when Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected President of South Africa, he embodied not only the hopes of his long-suffering people but also the spirit of thousands of antiapartheid supporters the world over who worked tirelessly to deliver freedom to South Africa. Among them were many Australians. From as early as 1960, trade unions, the Government, churches and individuals gave their support to the fight for justice in South Africa. In 1996 Nelson Mandela wrote,

“During those bleak decades on Robben Island and later in Pollsmoor Prison, my companions and I would occasionally glean news of anti-apartheid activities being carried out overseas. Such news brought us comfort and hope.
Australians were notable for their participation in the anti-apartheid movement. They gained a reputation in the 1960s and 1970s for their demonstrations against visiting sporting teams and individual players, for the moral and financial aid they gave our cause and for hosting educational tours by visiting speakers.

Later, Australians won recognition for the diplomatic efforts of some of their most senior politicians, such as the former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and former Foreign Affairs Minister Gareth Evans. In the years that followed, I met many Australian politicians and journalists. But it was not until I visited Australia in 1990 that I grasped fully the extent of the commitment of the Australian people to our struggle for democracy. When I stood on the steps of Sydney Opera House and witnessed the thousands upon thousands of people who had come to greet me I was profoundly moved by this demonstration of support for a democratic and non-racial South Africa.”

This exhibition focuses on Australians who gave generously over many decades to bring about the end of apartheid twenty years ago. Thank you for your hard work and sacrifice in those difficult years, when support for a non-racial South Africa was uncommon, when some of you were incarcerated for your actions, and when your tactics were met with opposition from many. Memories of the Struggle is an acknowledgement of your lifetime of commitment.

Angus Leendertz | Curator

Nelson Mandela at Sydney Opera House, 1990. Photo: Newspix

Meredith Burgmann arrest during STOP THE TOURS campaign. Photo: Wayne Davies; Demonstrators disrupt Springbok rugby game 1971. Photo: Fairfax


Smoke bombs and flares during Springbok Rugby Tour of 1971. Photo: Fairfax


Demonstration in George Street, Sydney. Photo: State Library and Search Foundation


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