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Sydney Opera House lit up with ‘Indigenous artwork’ on Australia Day

The sails of the Sydney Opera House have been illuminated with digital images of Indigenous people on Australia Day.

While both the Australian flag and the Aboriginal flag were projected onto the building on Thursday night, Sydney woke up on January 26 to see the Indigenous display early on Australia Day morning, despite the fact that vast majority of Australians support the day and are proud of their history.

NSW Premier Chris Minns, who was late last year caught refusing to light up the sails for the coronation for King Charles’ coronation for political reasons after claiming he did it to save money, attended a “WugulOra morning ceremony” on Friday morning and posted an Indigenous-focused message.

“We know that Australia Day brings on different feelings for different communities across our state, especially for First Nations people,” he said.

“For all of us, this date is an important day of reflection and to recommit ourselves to an inclusive and respectful Australia.”

The Sydney Opera House display by Indigenous artist Brett Leavy was heavily criticised by social media users responding to a Nine News report on the display.

“Project that onto a rock wall. The opera house was built by the brilliance of western civilisation. Respect is a two way street,” read the most popular comment on the X post, accompanied by a photo of the sails lit up with the Australian flag.

“It’s not NAIDOC week is it? I thought 26 Jan was our National Day, you know, the day for ALL of us, not just the 3%? Happy Australia Day everyone!” another wrote.

Other comments asked why Indigenous art was chosen after Australia overwhelmingly rejected the Voice to Parliament in October, while some questioned the artist’s Indigeneity.

A small minority of responses approved of the display, with one person writing: “I’d love to see the Australian flag too, but to be honest, I reckon that’s some damn nice artwork”.

The controversial display comes amid calls for a boycott of Woolworths, Aldi and Kmart for refusing to sell Australia Day-themed merchandise this year, and after a poll earlier this month showed only 17% of Australians support changing the date of Australia Day, and most are proud of their country and history.

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