Sydney’s Darling Harbour... and the giant rubber duck

A gigantic, yellow rubber duck is prepared prior to being floated into Sydney's Darling Harbour on January 5, 2013 to kick off Sydney's annual arts festival, a celebration which combines high-art with popular entertainment. The rubber duck by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman forms part of the 2013 Sydney Festival which will present more than 750 artists from about 17 countries around the world, with many of the events free and family-oriented to showcase the personality of Australia's biggest city.    AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD
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The yellow rubber duck by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, is prepared prior to being floated into Sydney's Darling Harbour on January 5, 2013 AFP Photo/Greg Wood

A gigantic, bright yellow rubber duck floated into Sydney's Darling Harbour as part of the Australian city's annual arts festival, where high-art meets popular entertainment.Each January hundreds of thousands of people attend theatre, music, dance, film, talks and other events for three weeks. The Sydney Festival, will present 92 events by 750 artists from 17 countries. Thousands had lined Darling Harbour for the entry of artist Florentijn Hofman's inflatable duck.

“What makes Sydney Festival unique I think is this amazing blend of serious art and quirky and playful entertainment,” says festival director Lieven Bertels “And what better to celebrate that than with a really, lovely public art work such as the rubber duck.”

The duck - a 15-metre high is a creation by Dutchman Hofman, models of which have appeared in other cities.

AFP Photo/ Greg Wood

“This is the Sydney duck and for him [Hofman] what’s important about it is that it is not just a playful thing but also one that connects,” Bertels said. “Because his whole theory around this, which is quite beautiful, is that all these harbours are connected to the local seas, and all these seas are part of one big ocean. So he says, well, really the whole world is one big bathtub. And what better way to celebrate summer than to have a giant bathtub party?”

Many Sydney Festival events are free and family-oriented to showcase the personality of Australia’s biggest city.

This year the big attractions will be a Latino circus show from Circolombia and soul singer Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, but the January 5 to 27 festival will also present an interpretation of Handel’s opera “Semele” and encompass an exhibition of works by painter Francis Bacon.

Other quirky events include a performance by an actor who will run a full marathon on a treadmill in front of spectators at Sydney’s Hyde Park, while wearing gold sneakers and recounting an ancient Greek tale.

Sydney Festival was designed to bring life back into the city during the slow summer months and first took place in 1977.

Source: AFP