Marks Park Memorial Artwork to Honour and Remember Victims of Hate Crime
A new public artwork to honour and remember victims of decades-old hate crimes in the local area has reached the next stage of community feedback.
The site-specific work will be installed in Marks Park, Tamarama, in memory of the victims of an epidemic of homophobic and transphobic violence that took place from 1970-2000. In New South Wales alone, homophobic and transphobic violence took the lives of more than 88 people during that period and several of these crimes took place in Marks Park. At least 30 cases remain unsolved.
Marks Park is located on the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk and provides a temporary home to many artworks each year as part of the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. However, this artwork will remain permanently and stand as a memorial to victims of hate crimes.
Marks Park was once known as the ‘Bondi Badlands’ because of the hate crimes that occurred there, but the proposed artwork aims to reclaim the park as a place of hope and inclusivity that can be enjoyed by the whole community.
In the next stage of planning, six artists have been shortlisted, each with a unique design that can be viewed at haveyoursay.waverley.nsw.gov.au until July 5.
Since many of the crimes remain unsolved, a key aim of the memorial is to provide recognition for the LGBTQ+ community. The development of this artwork by Waverley Council began in 2016 in partnership with ACON, an LGBTQ+ health organisation.
ACON Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Parkhill agreed that the proposed artworks will comfort those affected by the crimes.
“Recognition and acknowledgement are key in the healing process for the families, partners and friends of victims of these crimes and the LGBTQ+ community generally,” he said.
The designs include public seating spaces, pillar sculptures, a frame overlooking the ocean and the use of words on the surfaces of the work.
The crimes have been previously recorded and discussed in the 2017 book Getting Away With Murder, written by former policeman Duncan McNab.
Many of the deaths were originally dismissed by police as misadventure or suicide and were later found to be the deliberate acts of homophobic gangs.
“The events of this dark chapter in Sydney’s history have left a painful legacy that continues to be felt today,” Mr Parkhill said.
Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos said that the aim of the project is healing and reflection for the community.
“This artwork will serve as a place for people to reflect and seek solace as well as be a beacon of hope for an inclusive future,” Cr Masselos told The Beast.
Both Waverley Council and ACON encourage all members of the community to vote on which of the final six designs will last as a reminder of a brighter and more inclusive future.