Put Up Your Hand – Light up the Night!

The University of Sydney is calling for entries from current students and recent graduates from Sydney College of the Arts to design the University of Sydney 2014 Sea of Hands interactive public artwork for National Reconciliation Week, in partnership for the first time with the Vivid Sydney Festival.

Sea of Hands

The University of Sydney is thrilled to be participating in the Vivid Sydney Festival, a landmark annual event of light, music and ideas, with an exciting free public exhibition of outdoor lighting sculptures and installations.

The Sea of Hands is one of Australia’s largest public artworks and is an important step forward in developing better public awareness and support for issues of social justice and reconciliation in Australia. The Sea of Hands is comprised of flat plastic hands representing the colours of the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian flags (black, blue, green, red, white and yellow) which are inserted into the ground following a pattern or design. Visitors are encouraged to write their name on a hand and place them in the design to signal their support for Indigenous Native Title Rights and Reconciliation.

The successful applicant will become the first artist to design a Sea of Hands display for the University of Sydney’s first ever collaboration with the Vivid Sydney festival and will need to be available on Friday 23 May 2014 to oversee the project implementation, including marking and pegging out the design on the University lawn. The successful designer will also receive a $600 gift voucher for Eckersley’s Art and Craft Supplies and a twelve month subscription to Art Almanac. The selected artist will also have the option to speak at the Flag Raising Ceremony during the launch of Reconciliation Week.

Conditions of Entry


  1. The University of Sydney 2014 Sea of Hands design competition is open to all students and recent graduates (2009-2014) of Sydney College of the Arts.
  2. The competition is not open to students or graduates from other faculties of the University of Sydney or external applicants.
  3. The designer of the 2014 Sea of Hands will be responsible for the design, and also for overseeing the project implementation, including marking and pegging out the design on the University lawn, on Friday 23 May, prior to Reconciliation Week 2014.
  4. The successful applicant will need to be available to oversee the project on Friday 23 May.


Applications should consider the following:

  1. Detailed drawings and images of the design. The design should fill the two adjacent triangular sections of the front lawns. Each triangle is roughly 25m x 30m x 35m, please refer to diagrams below.
  2. 250 word detailed description outlining how the design will be implemented and its significance to the ideas raised through National Reconciliation Week.
  3. The design must use the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian flag colours.
  4. The design must be able to be clearly marked out and easy for members of the public to follow when placing the hands.
  5. When designing the Sea of Hands, it is recommended that the artist consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and community groups and include a detailed outline of this consultation and research in their application.

Delivery of Application

  1. Applications must be emailed to on or before close of business on Wednesday 14 May 2014.
  2. Applications must be delivered complete, including all supporting material.
  3. Applications must be contained in one email with a maximum size of 5MB.
Sea of Hands
Sea of Hands dimensions