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The Distance of your Heart

a bird sitting on top of a wooden fence

On a recent wander through the city one quiet evening my wife and I stumbled upon a small bird sitting still on a railing within Macquarie Park. The dull light of the evening dusk obscured our view and we thought that this small bird was such a brave little thing, standing ever so still as we approached. It was only on closer inspection did we realize we had been fooled by a small piece of a larger artwork that threads its way across Circular Quay district.

Running along Bridge and Grosvenor streets and through Macquarie Place Park, you’ll discover over 60 tiny artworks. The Distance of your Heart is as much a treasure hunt as an artwork. Consisting of more than 60 delicate, handmade bronze bird sculptures designed by British artist Tracey Emin. Life-sized and life-like, at first glance you could easily mistake them for real birds.

Emin describes her work for Sydney as, ‘simple, straightforward and accessible to everybody’. The work is handmade by Emin with each bird life size, the opposite of monumental and overpowering. She chose Macquarie Place because this is the site of the Obelisk of Distances designed by Francis Greenway from which the distance to various locations in New South Wales are measured, along the earliest roads developed in the colony. She saw this as “…the perfect site to measure the distance of my heart”

The scattered sculptures perch on poles, above doorways, under seats, and on awnings. Hidden in plain sight, enticing you to follow their trail. A singular bird sits on a large stone birdbath in Macquarie Place Park. The bath is inscribed with the words ‘The distance of your heart’. Creating a place to reflect and remember loved ones who are far away.

IMAGE CREDIT: Libby Curran

Tracey Emin sitting on a bench in front of a box