Industrial Cathedral

Industrial Cathedral
"Industrial Cathedral" charcoal drawing on paper 131 x 131 cm Jane Bennett. This drawing was a finalist in the 1998 Dobell Prize for Drawing (Art Gallery of N.S.W.) ; Finalist in 1998 Blake Prize for Religious Art ; Winner of 1998 Hunter's Hill Open Art Prize

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Barangaroo - Where Art, Architecture, History, Politics and Economics meet

The discussion "Why the hullaballoo about Barangaroo? Where Art, Architecture, History, Politics and Economics meet" was held on Sunday 10th March, in the courtyard of the Frances Keevil Gallery, where my solo exhibition "From the Hungry Mile to Barangaroo" continues until Sunday March 24th.
This was a brave experiment.
Neither Frances nor myself have ever put together anything like this before.
It was well worth it! The conversation between the panel members was informative, entertaining and at times passionate and stirring. The audience was enthralled - many of them stayed on afterwards to ask questions, take photos and even get autographs!

Barangaroo discussion by Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery

Meet the distinguished panel: 
From left to right : 
Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM
Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
And the facilitator for the event, the renowned investigative journalist, Quentin Dempster.
Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
From left to right - 
 Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM, Quentin Dempster, and Frances Keevil, Director of the Frances Keevil Gallery.

Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
Dr Jack Mundey AO, is the legendary elder statesman of activism. He spoke movingly of the history of the famous Green Bans, in which as secretary of the New South Wales Builders' Labourers Federation (BLF), he led a successful campaign to protect the built and natural environment of Sydney from inappropriate development.
Apart from his unique credentials as a champion of heritage and sustainable urban planning, Jack had played an important part at the beginning of the story of the Barangaroo development.
 In 2006, Jack was a member of the jury to choose the design for Barangaroo. The jury had unanimously selected
 the design by the team headed by Philip Thalis - which bizarrely has now been completely discarded by LendLease, the developers of the site.

Incidentally, LendLease's design had come a distant second in the initial competition.

Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
Philip Thalis, deep in thought.
Philip Thalis is the principal of Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects. 
His design team won the competition to design Barangaroo - yet their design has not been adopted for the actual construction.

Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
Philip Thalis gave a thought-provoking speech pointing out flaws in both the process and the design.The contrast between the potential of what Barangaroo, could and should have been, and the unfortunate reality was made completely clear to the audience.
Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
John McInerney, previously for many years a Councillor of the City of Sydney, is now the "President of Australians for Sustainable Development". He has a wealth of experience in how councils and the State government interact throughout the stages of planning and development, and provided startling images of the impact of the Barangaroo buildings which are currently under construction.
Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
John McInerney examined many of the peculiarities of the entire planning process of the controversial Barangaroo project, and exposed some very disturbing implications for the future of Sydney. Most people in the audience had not previously grasped the consequences of some of these decisions and were completely gobsmacked.
Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
Alex Greenwich MP, was elected as Independent Member for Sydney in September 2012. His predecessor, Clover Moore, had controversially been forced to relinquish her seat in Parliament to continue in her role as Sydney's Lord Mayor. Alex regards Clover as an important mentor.
Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
Alex Greenwich MP in action. 
His speech about the development of Barangaroo being used as a "Trojan Horse" to  force the displacement of the residents of Millers Point, was passionate and articulate.


Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
Dr Graham Jahn AM, Director of Planning and Transport at the City of Sydney.

Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
Dr Graham Jahn AM, added some background detail.

Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
Quentin Dempster was a wonderful choice as facilitator for the discussion. His polite, yet probing questions brought out the best in the panel. The chaotic and complex narrative of the planning process behind Barangaroo was revealed to the eager audience.

Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney - 3 champions of social justice.

Barangaroo discussion by Quentin Dempster, Philip Thalis, Dr Jack Mundey AO, Alex Greenwich MP, John McInerney, Dr Graham Jahn AM at the Jane Bennett exhibition at the Frances Keevil Gallery
Jack and me 
I can't thank all the participants enough for their wonderful efforts to make this discussion a success!
And I am just as grateful to Lynn and Frances, Directors of the Frances Keevil Gallery for stepping well outside their comfort zone to host this event at the gallery and to organize it so well.

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