BalloonsOutpost Project:

Industrial Street Art

November 2011
Cockatoo Island,

Sydney, Australia

This November, Shape East's interest in the adaptive re-use of historic places and spaces led us to visit Sydney's former industrial beacon, Cockatoo island. The largest island in Sydney harbor and now a UNESCO protected heritage site, this former imperial prison, industrial school, reformatory and gaol is littered with rusted warehouses, century-old cranes and during November and December 2011, with some of the most inspirational international street art collections available for public viewing.

During the UK Winter months, as Sydneysiders move into the high 30 degree heat waves, the long abandoned island plays host to the Outpost Project, a street art exhibition run by curators Sydney Harbour Federation Trust and aMBUSH Gallery, billed as the biggest street-art exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere, featuring around 150 international artists and collectives.

The project also exhibited works from the 2011 Australian Stencil Art Prize, a major T-shirt streetwear exhibition, the MAY's: The May Lane Street Art Project presented by Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, plus local collectives collaborating with international artists. Alongside the art, an array of pop-up bars, retail and gallery spaces, artist battles, demos, DJ's, tours and art-making projects covered the island with activity for all ages.

What was so encouraging was the way in which this exhibition made such beautiful and innovative use of the industrial spaces, with mine shoots formed into underground gallery parades, open concrete spaces re-designed as child friendly chalk palettes and pop up bars created from empty shipping containers.

Although the Outpost Project finishes in December, Cockatoo Island is now the successful host to year-round art exhibitions. See for more details.

Please see below a gallery of some of our highlights from the Outpost Project.

Further Information:

Cockatoo Island / Outpost Project webpage:

Shape East photstream (to view larger photo formats and to download photos: