'Queer Sydney' artwork to feature in Mardi Gras

Section of 'Queer Sydney' by Jeremy Smith. A colourful, highly detailed illustration.

Sections of the large, vibrant artwork have been selected in consultation with the artist to feature in the University of Sydney’s presence at the Mardi Gras Parade on 2 March 2024. 

Queer Sydney: A History is a colourful, large scale artwork with intricate, hand-drawn details made with pen on paper. With remarkably fine detail, Smith has chronologised and memorialised local queer history, moving from Indigenous origins to present day. Historic moments and figures are celebrated and interwoven and at the centre – between two large rainbows – beams the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House topped with ‘LOVE’. 

Smith took inspiration from Garry Wotherspoon’s 2016 novel, Gay Sydney A History, which is available to borrow from the Library.

Of this artwork, Smith wrote “So often queer people have had a negative or non-existent narrative about our history imposed on us. From the dark days of criminalisation and murders to the debate over our love we had others speak for us and try to define us. This drawing is a countermap to that history.” Watch the artist speaking to his work

A high-resolution image of Queer Sydney: A History can be viewed on the Library’s Digital Collections website, or in person at Fisher Library, where it is hung on the main staircase wall between the third and fourth levels.  

The Library is dedicated to providing safe, inclusive environments for LGBTQIA+ students, staff and community members. We are excited to see this artwork be part of the University’s wider Pride Network initiatives, and hope it brings visibility and joy to those who interact with it throughout the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.

A print of Queer Sydney: A History will also be included in an upcoming exhibition for the launch of Qtopia, the new Queer museum opening in the old Darlinghurst Police Station. The exhibition, curated by Smith, is entitled We’re Here, We’re Queer and explores what Pride means in Australia in 2024.

Two people removing a rainbow flag from an artwrok on an easel