Poster, 'The Sydney Opera House is Ten', screen print, designed by Martin Sharp, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1983
This poster, designed by Sydney-based Australian artist and designer, Martin Sharp was created to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Sydney Opera House following its opening in 1973 after a long, protracted and controversial period of construction. The poster features a large number '10' in front of the towering frame of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and behind the sails of Opera House itself. Alongside this iconic symbols of Australian identity, Sharp incorporates a plethora of other popular Australian motifs including the harbour waters, the Southern Cross constellation, seagulls and the facade of Luna Park - motifs which Sharp has stylised and used repeatedly in his poster designs. This poster, together with other Sharp posters from the 1970s and 80s in the Powerhouse Museum's collection (including the Orange Festival of Arts (1979), the Festival of Sydney (1981), Adelaide Festival (1982), Circus Oz performance posters, Nimrod Theatre posters, the Tiny Tim at the Opera House (1982) concert poster, and others), presents a strong visual reminder of Australian identity and popular culture.
The poster was designed by Martin Sharp in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in 1983.
Sharp (b Sydney 21 January 1942) is a Sydney-based graphic artist, painter, cartoonist and filmmaker and an internationally renowned Australian Pop/psychedelic poster designer though his close association with the Pop and psychedelic art movements in London in the 1960s and the Yellow House in Sydney in the 1970s. Sharp studied at Cranbrook School under Justin O'Brien and then the National Art School. He also briefly studied architecture at the University of Sydney in 1961. He was art director and a contributor to the infamous Oz magazine between 1963 and 1966.
He then lived in London from 1966 to 1970 and again between 1971 and 1973 where he became well known for his psychedelic poster designs. In 1969, Sharp won a coverted New York Art Director's Prize for Best Album Cover design for his Cream's 'Wheels of Fire' album cover (Powerhouse Museum collection 86/1592). During the 1970s and 80s Martin Sharp created a large number of cultural sector posters including posters for the Opera House, the Nimrod Theatre, Circus Oz and various festivals. In 1998, he was the only Australian poster designer to be included in the Victoria and Albert Museum's major international poster exhibition, The Power of the Poster. There have been numerous exhibitions marking Martin Sharp's contribution to Australian art and society, including most recently 'The Everlasting World of Martin Sharp: Paintings from 1948 to today' retrospective (16 November - 23 December, 2006) at the Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney.
The poster was commissioned to celebrate the tenth anniversary of one of Australia's most celebrated buildings, the Sydney Opera House, designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon and opened to the public by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October, 1973.