Nine-metre high images by Edward Burtynsky set to blanket Sydney

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The work of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky – known for his large-scale depictions of humanity's impact on the planet – are set to blanket Sydney’s Oxford Street precinct from next week.

Towering across three immense nine-metre screens, Burtynsky’s new work, In the Wake of Progress, will 'envelop and illuminate' Taylor Square from 25 August until 18 September as part of the Sydney Festival.

Ohipbreaking #23, Chittagong, Bangladesh. Image: Edward Burtynsky

40 years in the making, In the Wake of Progress is described as an immersive multimedia artwork combining photographs and film footage from Burtynsky’s career, characterised by aerial visuals and industrial landscapes.

From scenes of shipbreaking in Bangladesh to images of hazardous nickel tailings in Ontario, Burtynsky’s images tell the epic and confronting story of humanity’s influence on Earth.

The exhibition is co-produced by music legend Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed) and is set to an original score by composer Phil Strong to deliver a multi-sensory experience. 

Highway #2, Intersection 105 & 110, Los Angeles, California. Image: Edward Burtynsky

“I am absolutely thrilled that Sydney Festival can host the Australian premiere of In the Wake of Progress – a powerful and urgent work from one of the world’s foremost photographers, Edward Burtynsky,” said Sydney Festival Director Olivia Ansell. 

“It’s incredibly exciting to have In the Wake of Progress travel across the world to be presented by the illustrious Sydney Festival right after its world premiere in Toronto,” Edward Burtynsky said.

Image: Sydney Festival

“I’m so grateful to know that we are officially at the beginning of having this work seen by as many people around the world as possible at a time when awareness of and the need for action on the climate crisis has never been more urgent.”

In the Wake of Progress is supported by the NSW Government through the CBDs $50 million Revitalisation Program.

Alongside the installation, Burtynsky will also take part in a series of talks, co-presented by the Australian Museum and Sydney Festival, across Thursday 1, Friday 2 and Saturday 3 September. You can find out more about these here. 

Photographer Edward Burtynsky. Image: Jim Panou.

About Edward Burtynsky 

Edward Burtynsky is one of the world’s most accomplished contemporary photographers. His remarkable depictions of global industrial landscapes represent 40 years dedicated to bearing witness to the impact of humans on the planet.

His large-scale works feature in collections across the world including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, the Tate Modern in London, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California. 

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