COVID inspires art in Surry Hills pubs

Empty spaces in two Surry Hills pubs will be transformed into locations for temporary art installations by leading Sydney artists as a result of an innovative public art project.

The Dove & Olive and Shakespeare Hotels, both on Devonshire Street, will provide the venues for work by photographer Angela Robertson-Buchanan and Jeff McCann after the artists were selected by a judging panel following an artists’ call out.

Margot Natoli, the creative producer of the Surry Hills Creative Art Project, said the project was designed both to support local artists and also to bring patrons into the pubs through creating exciting and colourful new spaces.

“As restrictions are lifting we wanted to celebrate our suburb’s recovery and brighten up our community spaces with unique local art,” said Natoli.

“We were looking for expressions of interest to create temporary artworks in a courtyard space, a disused wall, in a windowsill, a closed shop front window or other possible spaces.”

A total of 27 artists expressed interest in the project, which is a collaboration between Margot Natoli, the Surry Hills Creative Precinct and the City of Sydney through the Creative Fellowships Fund.

Angela-Roberson Buchanan, whose work will activate the Dove & Olive Hotel, is an award winning freelance nature photographer, published author, teacher and exhibition curator.

She specialises in photographing the natural world, and has been recognised for her macrophotography of birds.
Local contemporary artist Jeff McCann will activate the closed shop front at the Shakespeare Hotel. He has a strong track record of public art projects, including installations for clients including the City of Sydney, the Queen Victoria Building, Heaps Gay and the Spilt Milk Music Festival.

The pubs will host installations by the two artists for four weeks from early September into October 2020.

Angela Robertson-Buchanan

Nature Photographer & Nature Conservationist

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About the Artist:

Angela Robertson-Buchanan is “The Bird Photographer”, an award-winning professional nature photographer and published children’s author, specialising in birds.

Angela is a passionate conservationist and bird advocate as well as a wildlife carer specialising in parrots.
Combining her interests in wildlife and photography, Angela creates images, projects and exhibitions where she can convey a conservation message.

Angela is fascinated with how urban birds interact with us in cities and what we can do to increase their habitat.

About the Art:

Have a drink with Surry Hill’s most colourful personalities, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Rainbow Lorikeet!  Admire their inquisitiveness as they look down at you, probably looking to taste your food or drink in true cheeky parrot fashion!
We are so lucky to have our urban birdlife, but they are struggling a little.  With fewer mature trees around (due to urban developments), this Spring will be a challenge to find prime real estate, i.e. mature nest hollows.

Native birds like Parrots and Kookaburras rely on tree hollows to nest.  It takes 100 years for a tree to form a small natural hollow, 250 years for a cockatoo size one.  Perhaps we can help them out and put up nest boxes?

The aim of my art is to encourage people to notice and appreciate their urban birdlife, live harmoniously with them and also think about ways to help them.

About the Location:

The Dove & Olive Hotel great food + great craft beers!!

Creative Producer: Margot Natoli


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