As part of NAIDOC Week 2020 celebrations – with its theme of ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ – artist Noni Cragg was commissioned for a week of live painting at One International Towers, Barangaroo.

Noni is based in Sydney and is inspired by culture, colour and people. She is of Irish, Scottish and First Nations heritage (Bundjalung and Biripai) and also works as a writer, actor, model and activist.

Renowned for her portraits, Noni spent NAIDOC Week creating a painting of Benn Pigot, a professional BMX bike rider who is of First Nations (Croker Island) Australian, Rotuma (Fijian) and Irish/Scottish heritage.

Each element in the painting is an acknowledgement of different aspects of Benn’s life. Pictured nestled amongst some fluffy acacia, Benn’s ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ tattoo on his chest reflects the NAIDOC 2020 theme. The Kangaroo paw flowers at his waist are a nod to the kangaroo track symbol tattooed on his throat. Eucalyptus trees line the two paths/roads on either side of Benn, which run through a series of fields.

A black Cockatoo flies behind Benn in the distance, while a Rainbow Bee-eater zooms past in the foreground. The birds are an acknowledgement of his incredible talent on a BMX bike; Benn is well known for his ability to air higher than most in his sport, as well as his style and execution. The purple sky settles into dusk with bright orange fluffy clouds scattered above the mountains.

The activation is curated and produced by aMBUSH Gallery and presented by One International Towers.

Noni Cragg