Paper Art To Reshape Sydney Harbour This New Year’s Eve

A colourful paper artwork transforming Sydney Harbour into native animals, plants & Australiana has been revealed as the inspiration for the Sydney New Year’s Eve 2016 theme.

Commissioned by the City Of Sydney, the handmade 3-dimensional (3D) model inspired the lighting effects, fireworks colours & projections that will be enjoyed by millions around the world with the theme Welcome To SydNYE.

Surry Hills artist & paper engineer, Benja Harney, created the intricate paper work currently featuring on banners throughout the city & on public transport promoting Sydney New Year’s Eve 2016.

Making the artwork was a painstaking process that took more than 600 hours, with every sheet of paper hand cut & delicately assembled.

Mister Harney says the project has been an intense labour of love to create an ode to the city he proudly calls home.

“This artwork captures the brightness & exuberance of the Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks” Mister Harney said.

“It is a fantasy Sydney with a waratah for the Opera House, a gumnut for Sydney Tower & piano keys, an ice cream cone and even a thong representing the skyscraper landscape”

“But after much debate, the Sydney Harbour Bridge stayed as the Bridge so people from anywhere in the world will immediately identify it as Sydney Harbour. I also used a lot of bright, sparkly paper to reflect the magic of exploding fireworks across the Harbour”

City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said the unique artwork would become part of the City’s art collection.

“This artwork really captures the spirit of Sydney New Year’s Eve – a wonderful & colourful moment of fun when you can reflect on the year that has been & get ready to celebrate the changes ahead” the Lord Mayor said.

“This timeless work will become part of the City’s permanent art collection so people can enjoy the Sydney New Year’s Eve experience when they visit at any time of year”

There are more than 75 individual pieces within the artwork depicting 20 different native species from land & sea. It took 80 scalpel blades to cut the thousands of pieces of paper in 40 different stocks.

“I wanted to depict a fun & joyous Sydney that represented happiness. I wanted to create something that is to look at & has many layers so the more you look at it, the more you see” Mister Harney said.

“It is a journey for your eyes & I wanted to draw people in to make them feel part of this special night wherever they are”

The model was filmed & digitally enhanced by the team at Imagination, the Sydney creative agency that for 6 years has helped bring the Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations to life with elaborate light shows & giant projections onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons.

Heath Campanaro, Creative Director of Imagination Australia, said the artwork had helped elevate this year’s creative to a new level.

“This exuberant & playful artistic model captures the welcoming spirit that Australia’s premier New Year’s Eve celebration represents around the world” Mister Campanaro said.

“Having a 3D model to work with for the 1st time has inspired the creative team across all our work on Sydney New Year’s Eve 2016. From the event theming to the light display on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, we have translated the vibrancy of Benja’s work across everything we have touched”

Mister Harney is also excited at being able to showcase Sydney to the world.

“As a Sydneysider, it is a great honour to represent my city in this way. As an artist, this is the highlight of my career”

Audiences can watch the live stream of the Welcome To Country, the 9pm Family Fireworks & the Midnight Fireworks on, the 1-stop shop for planning your night on the harbour, at home or across the globe.

Media Release: City Of Sydney