WE ARE WARRIORS shines spotlight on First Nations culture at Sydney’s New Year’s Eve 9pm celebrations via VANDAL and R/GA
Marking a significant milestone in celebrating First Nations culture, VANDAL joined forces with R/GA Australia and Social Indigenous Enterprise WE ARE WARRIORS to produce the 9pm content for Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Under the theme ‘Buried Country,’ the 9pm celebrations and Calling to Country explored Indigenous resilience and the enduring spirit of resistance.
Titled ‘Buried Country’, the concept was crafted by Noongar artist, rapper, and Triple J Radio host Nooky. His vision integrated bespoke illustrations of iconic Indigenous figures by Janelle Burger, including Cathy Freeman, Anita Heiss, Adam Goodes, Patty Mills, Barkaa, and others, into a dynamic and culturally rich narrative.
The collaboration between VANDAL, We Are Warriors, R/GA, illustrator Janelle Burger and 3D artist Jock Holyman brought to life the intergenerational storytelling that keeps Indigenous culture alive.
Through powerful pylon projections brought to life by VANDAL, the audience was taken on a visual journey, reinforcing the message that we are always on country, even in the urban landscapes of big cities.
Nooky, the founder and creative director of WE ARE WARRIORS, emphasized the importance of reflecting on the year and letting Indigenous people know they are loved, seen and heard.
Says Nooky: “We are going all out projecting images onto the Harbour Bridge, putting Blak excellence on full display for the world to see. From the visuals to the music, we want to reflect what a Calling Country is.”
Ben Miles, co-founder of WE ARE WARRIORS, expressed the significance of this monumental activation for Indigenous people: “There’s never been an activation of this magnitude designed for the Indigenous population. After the Referendum, its significance has heightened. We want First Nations people to hear empowering words from Pelmowoy that affirm their greatness.”
The 9pm soundtrack, an original production by Nooky and Aria Award winner Vincent Goodyear, added a captivating layer to the display, blending anthemic hip hop with traditional First Nations audio.
VANDAL senior motion designer, Jimmy Buckle, acknowledged the monumental impact of the project: “I am stoked to have been able to collaborate with WE ARE WARRIORS, in partnership with R/GA, and play my part to elevate Indigenous stories through a digital experience. Stories like these allow Australians to understand the importance of traditional culture and to develop a deeper connection with these important messages.”
As the City of Sydney welcomed 2024, this extraordinary 9pm celebration marked a pivotal moment in showcasing the significance of First Nations stories, culture, and people to the world. With over 425 million viewers globally, Sydney’s New Year’s Eve event continues to lead in recognising and honoring Australia’s diverse and rich cultural tapestry.
City of Sydney, Major Events and Festivals
Producer: Stephen Gilby
Head of Programming: Jamie Dawson
Program Manager: Liza Bahamondes
We Are Warriors
Creative Director: Nooky
Project Director: Tressa Jackson
Chief Creative Officer: Seamus Higgins
VP, Executive Creative Director, Brand Design, APAC: Ben Miles
Associate Creative Director: Henry Cook
Senior Visual Designer: Louis Johanson
Associate Designer: Kelly Phan
Associate Visual Designer: Amy Toma
Verbal Design Director: Amy Scott
Group Director: Business & Strategy: Kay Chrystal Lord
Associate Strategy Director: Siona Singletary
Executive Content Producer: Kyle Belcher
Senior Producer: Sebastian Leat
Senior Video Editor: Alexandra Redd
Artist: Janelle Burger
Co-founder and Project Manager: Emrhan Tjapanangka Sultan
Producer & Agent: Steph Wu
3D Design and Motion: Jock Holyman
Producer: 18YOMAN & Nooky
Vocals: Jacob Morris & Angus Field
Morris McLennan, Daniel Tran
Amos Roach, Yvette Scholtmeyer, Jill Shelton
Cathy Freeman, James Murch @ Estrella Sports
Vincent Namatjira, Alanna Irwin @ Yavuz Gallery
Adam Goodes, Lucy Cammiss @ The Lighthaus
Patty Mills, Amanda Nause @ Team Mills Corporation
Raymond Timbery, Joel Deaves and the Australian Museum
Executive Director, Creative Strategy: Emile Rademeyer
Creative Director, Chris Scott
Executive Producer: Tracey Taylor
Producer: Alice Robinson
Senior Motion Designer: Jimmy Buckle
Animation: Robo Dinnerville, Will MacNamara