Iconic Street Art of the Inner West
The streets of the inner west are a vibrant living gallery. Whether it’s splashed on terraces, hidden down laneways or making a statement on bustling King Street, street art is part of what makes our neighbourhood so vibrant and unique. Here are some of our favourites.
A Sydney socialite in the mid-1800s, Eliza Donnithorne became a recluse after being jilted at the altar, and is believed to have inspired Charles Dickens character Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. She’s now one of the famed residents of Camperdown Cemetery, and has been immortalised on the side of a nearby terrace. Painted by Steven Nuttall (aka Ox King), the mural depicts Eliza in a wedding dress, which she supposedly wore until the day she died.
These animals have been running wild through the streets of Newtown for more than 10 years, but their romp was briefly interrupted when an advertisement was painted over the mural last year. The intense public outcry against the promo for Hollywood film, Mother, prompted an apology from the ad agency and its director, who arranged for the mural to be repainted.
Another example of local people-power, this mural in Matt Hogan Reserve is the result of a crowd-funding effort. Painted by world-renowned Australian muralist Fintan Magee, it depicts a fictional traveller, and was intended as one page in a story book to be told in murals throughout the area.
One of the most political moments in the history of the Olympics is recorded in a quiet street opposite the railway tracks. Three proud people recreates a photograph from the 1968 Mexico Olympics when two African-American athletes raised their fists in a black power salute as they accepted their medals. Beside them is Australian silver medallist, Peter Norman, who wore a human rights badge in solidarity. This longstanding mural was painted in the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
An otherwise unremarkable back lane in Enmore has been transformed into a street artists’ playground, with walls, fences, garage doors and even bins tagged in a vibrant spectrum of colours. Walk past at any time of day and you’re likely to find street artists working on their latest piece.
Painted over a weekend in 1991 without council permission, this Newtown landmark has since been heritage listed. Artists Juilee Pryor and Andrew Aiken reference Martin Luther King’s iconic speech, with the piece based on themes of gender equality, environmental activism and civil rights.
Art imitates life quite literally in this sweet depiction of an artist drawing in his studio while his two little girls watch on. It’s one of the many pieces by Mexican-Australian artist Alejandro Martinez, known as Peque, to be found across the inner west.
This towering mural depicts three generations of Sydney trains. It was commissioned as part of Marrickville Council’s Perfect Match Public Art Program, which links up artists with businesses, property owners and community groups to help create new artworks in public places. Other stunning murals can be found all the way along May Lane and adjacent Caroline Lane.