Canberra Metro Light Rail

Submitted by UAP

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Client: Capital Metro

Location: Canberra, Australia

Completion date: 2019

Project Team

Artist

Hannah Quinlivan

Public Art Consultants

UAP Brisbane

Overview

Influential Canberra-based artist Hannah Quinlivan has been commissioned to create an artwork that can be seen in the glazed screens along the first 13 stops of the Canberra Metro between Gungahlin and the City. This commission is connected to Hannah’s general practice and to her PhD, which examines site-specific spaces and how people occupy them.

A graduate of the ANU School of Art, Hannah has held solo exhibitions in Berlin, New York, Hong Kong, Cambridge, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney – but this project for the Capital Metro is her first permanent site-specific work. Having lived in many parts of the city since age nine, Hannah has deep connections to our landscape and the “mountain ranges cradling Canberra.”

Hannah likens the concept for the luminous glass panels as “looking at the landscape through brittle gum branches”. The artworks have been designed to capture sunlight and shadows. The sun pierces through the glass and the shadows cast dramatic abstracted lines on street furniture and people’s faces.

Each of the drawings are site-specific and anchored to each location but also connected. When you begin your journey in Gungahlin, each drawing builds and responds to each other, creating a visual and emotional journey through the landscape.

Goals

UAP worked as the public art consultants for the newly realised Canberra Metro Light Rail. Working closely with the project architects – Architectus – UAP crafted a public art strategy that resulted in artist Hannah Quinlivan being commissioned to produce a series of unique site-specific artwork for each of the stations.

Local to Canberra, Hannah Quinlivan is a multidisciplinary artist working across printmaking, drawing, painting and sculpture. Creating ‘spatial drawings’, Quinlivan uses line as an intrinsic part of her practice exploring shadow, form, movement and light through her delicate, rhythmic installations.

Process

Responding to the overarching curatorial rationale ‘Cultural Capital: Intersections of imagination’, Quinlivan intervened within the architecture of the Canberra Metro Light Rail to craft a series of visually and conceptually interlinked, site-specific drawings. The artist spent time observing the civic rhythms of each stop, which were interpreted as nineteen unique compositions.

Printed directly onto glass in crisp white ink, the drawings allow light to pass through, creating dappled impressions on the ground and surrounding surfaces, further enhancing the visual interest of the work. This highly integrated approach ensures that the artwork is firmly embedded within the fabric of the Canberra Light Rail, and the city itself.