Urban Metamorphosis: When Sydney’s Streets Turn into Artworks


Street installations are a must-see in the list of every single tourist travelling to Harbour City. Before talking about the most captivating murals of Sydney, let’s see if everything that is depicted on the walls of houses and other buildings can be called “street art”? 

When Graffiti Converts in Art

Graffiti is broadly defined as graffiti that includes words or monikers. Graffiti becomes “art” when these tags include drawings or images and when the painters work lawfully and create graphics only in permitted places. Graffiti is a way of creative self-expression and a way to communicate your thoughts non-verbally.

What is Street Art 

Street art is essentially institutionalised graffiti, created for public visibility in public places, building facades, mailboxes, and walls, where previously agreed. Now artists are being recruited to create fun and colourful paintings on the edifices of schools, colleges, kindergartens, and other institutions. The purpose of street art is usually to provoke reflection in the public, to raise the problems of society, or simply to make the passer-by smile.

Murals creating process

Unlike street art installations, when creating murals, artists do not limit themselves to outdoor walls, but move to any surface such as rooftops or terraces. Such freedom allows street painters in Sydney to create unusual ingenious solutions, extraordinary motives, and whole episodes. As a rule, the involvement of an artist to make wall paintings is carried out for a particular project. Before that, all the formalities must be agreed: permission for mural making, design, deadlines, budget, etc. 


In Search of Sydney Art Neighbourhoods

In Emerald City, murals have a major role in society. Citizens generally accept this form of aesthetic, social, and political expression by painters. Furthermore, such a type of fine Sydney street art brings life to boring urban walls and adds bright accents that make a place attractive to tourists.

So, where to search for mural art in Harbour City? The most famous public wall paintings are situated in the following urban areas:

  • Newtown
  • Caringbah
  • Marrickville
  • Surry Hills
  • Enmore
  • Redfern.

Street art lovers can spend a lot of time exploring the installations, as each mural is filled with stories and meanings that are interesting to unravel.

These areas are home to a high concentration of public art installations and are popular destinations for those interested in exploring the city’s street art scene. 

What is the best way to explore Sydney?

The best way to discover all of Sydney’s outlying art areas is by car rental. If you are going on a trip with family or friends, or you are a couple of travellers who seek maximum comfort, then a 7-seater car hire in Sydney will be a slam dunk for you. There is no reason for a traveller to rely on public transport in Harbour City, as most of the most remarkable Sydney tourist places are easily accessible by car. Those wishing to rent a spacious car in Sydney can choose from a wide range of options at affordable prices at 14CARS.com. 7 passenger vehicle hire is what brings you closer to Sydney urban art!

Most captivating Sydney murals 

Lost Figures

The paintings depict the blurry figures of two people, a young Aboriginal woman Patyegarang who stayed in Harbour City during the British invasion at the end of 18 century, and Lieutenant William Dawes. Both played a crucial role in the preservation of the Indigenous language and culture. Inspired by these historic persons, Fintan Magee created this mural as part of an Australian program Art & About. The portraits look as if behind a cloudy glass, seeming forgotten and distant, taking us back to those far-off troubled times.

To see the street masterpiece with your own eyes, head to 510 Wilson Street in Darlington. 

Jenny Munro

A historical figure portrayed by the hand of popular local mural painter Matthew Adnate is a leader of the Gadigal populace of the Eora Nation. These people were the ancient owners of the territory that Emerald City was raised on. The mural is a homage to the rich Aboriginal legacy. Adnate gained fame among Australians for his public influential portraits, which drew the attention of society to the most pivotal historical events. The image of Munro symbolises esteem and gratitude for under-represented and affected population groups. This mural is placed in Redfern, on the wall of the 10-story Novotel, on the corner of Harbour and Goulburn streets. 

I Have A Dream

This mural in Newtown is a worthy addition to the list of must-see street installations in Harbour City. It was created in the late nineties of the last century by Juilee Pryor and Andrew Aiken. The idea of the mural lies in drawing public attention to the painful issues of the twentieth century, which do not lose their relevance to this day — gender parity, environmental activism, and civil liberties. Despite the refusal, the artists violated the ban by secretly making this street wall painting on an August night. Later, the mayor of Sydney said that mural art in the city, which attracts so many people to find something positive, relevant, moving, and substantial in it, is really powerful and authentic.

Housing Bubble

The creation of the mural helped draw attention to the problem of housing inaccessibility in the city caused by gentrification. Gentrification is the changeover of a city district from low-value to costly. Such upgrades often lead to a boost in the neighbourhood`s economic appeal. However, emerging demographic displacement may convert into a significant social issue. The movement of citizens as well as the influence of the emerging housing crisis on ordinary people is a serious political issue that requires immediate government action.

IGA Mural

An untitled magnum opus painted by Alex Lehours is placed on the wall of the “Becher house” in Newtown. The mural has many colourful details and a fantastical design, the aim of which is to bring a piece of joy and brighten up cloudy weekdays. The works of Alex Lehours foster a humorous and vibrant atmosphere in the municipal streets. He makes huge murals featuring bright colours and elements of wildlife and everyday items. Look for the IGA mural at 43 Bedford St. in the west suburb of Sydney.

The Clean Up

This street masterpiece by Fintan Magee is located at Albermarle Street in Newtown. The mural stands for the need to care for the environment, reducing the amount of waste produced by humans. It could serve as an example for teaching children to clean up after themselves, sort garbage, and respect nature. Our attitude to the environment today determines the world in which the next generations will live.

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