Artwork at U City

Showcasing some of SA’s most talented artists 

The U City Arts Project was a collaboration between Uniting Communities and Guildhouse to commission art works for the new U City building.

Public art is an important way of communicating the stories that matter most to the community, expressing our identity and shared values, as well as building meaning and belonging. Art contributes significantly to South Australia’s cultural life as part of a dynamic creative environment that enriches the public realm, enhances wellbeing and strengthens connections.

With its vision to create an inclusive and diverse community, U City’s public spaces provided a prime opportunity to showcase a variety of innovative and thought-provoking works from some of the state’s most talented artists. The pieces were selected to create a strong sense of place, both enriching the spaces aesthetically and creating a welcoming environment.

Enjoy this visual journey into the U City community through the eyes of our local artists.

Scroll through the images below to learn more.

Connor's Bricks by Connor Brennan

16-year-old Connor completed this Lego model over a six-month period while attending high school. It is a 1:42 replica of the U City building and comprises approximately 55,000 individual pieces.

With portions of the interior of the building visible to viewers, the functionality of this vertical village is on display, including the residential spaces on the upper floors, the Function Centre and the Inbari Ku community space on level 3.

Location Ground floor  |  Material Lego bricks, plexiglass, wood plinth
Commissioned by Uniting Communities in 2019

Visit Connor’s Bricks.

Photographs by Craig Arnold

Ways of Seeing by CHEB: Christine Cholewa and Deb Jones

This work incorporates reclaimed materials from the former Maughan Church – these have imbued value as a visceral link to the past building.

When old timbers are cut, they show the life that has come before. The organ pipes – barely recognisable – now have a new role to play. And the coloured glass  taken out of the window frames has taken on a totally new form.
The mirrors give us different viewpoints at an untouchable distance. We can  use them to extend site lines and confuse perspectives, and help us change the way we see what’s around us and ourselves.

Location Ground floor  |  Material Timber, glass, organ pipes
Commissioned by Uniting Communities with support from Guildhouse in 2019

Visit CHEB Art.

Photographs by Craig Arnold

Cities are not known for being magical places – the grid and the grey make connecting with the elements a tricky business. This little enchanted space in the heart of the city is a place for everyone – available whenever you need a dose of technicolour magic.

U City Sanctuary by Aurelia Carbone

The artwork comprises three elements:
1. Welcome waterfall – a sculptural mosaic installed on the brick wall and constructed from salvaged material from the Maughan Church.
2. Jewels of the past – five inlay pieces embedded in the laneway surface,
inspired by the various patterns in the Church and crafted from salvaged
stained glass from the site.
3. City sanctuary mural – inspired by the name Penaluna, a hybrid Cornish-
Italian name meaning “Hill of the Moon”. A magical sanctuary for dreaming and reflection.

Location Ground floor, Penaluna Place  |  Material Stained glass, brass and acrylic  |  Contributing artist Violet Cooper
Commissioned by Uniting Communities with support from Guildhouse in 2019

Visit Aurelia’s website.

Photographs by Craig Arnold

Here is Love (again) I & II by Yusuf Hayat

Here is Love (again) is the outcome of conversations between artists Yusuf Hayat and Hossein Valamanesh. Hayat responds to Valamanesh’s original work ‘Here is Love’.  It features the illuminated Farsi word Ishq قشع (love).

Light allows us to see but its intensity can also prevent us from seeing – from looking directly at it and sometimes beyond it. Love, like light, is essential for human survival. This work comprises an ultrasonic distance sensor and a passive infrared sensor, with LED and acrylic.

Location Level 1  |  Material Acrylic, LED
Commissioned by Uniting Communities with support from Guildhouse in 2019

Visit Yusuf’s website.

Photographs by Craig Arnold

Bird freed leaf falling near smiley faced cloud

This painting reflects a fascination with, and love for, the natural world and interest in animist belief systems – anthropomorphising life forms other than human is preferable to commodifying them.

The process of painting is essentially one of discovery. John Foubister aspires to maintain an attitude of searching, primarily to open the world up for reconsideration and to possibly gain new insights. Open-mindedness, open-heartedness, kindness and love are of the greatest value.

Location Level 1  |  Material Oils on marine plyboard
Commissioned by Uniting Communities in 2019

Visit John Foubister’s Instagram.

Photographs by Craig Arnold

Nanggi yailparar lakun by Auntie Ellen Trevorrow

This sculpture is a metaphor of lights streaming through the gaps of the ethereal history of Australia’s colonialism. Despite Australia’s volatile history, the Nanggi yailparar lakun concept is an analogy of the bright glow in our heart, a candle that lights our path – taking us to the different journey in life.

The concept represents the importance of Uniting Communities’ service to the
Ngarrindjeri people, where family and extended community are an interconnected system of knowledge.

The artwork is a tribute to and a celebration of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and the commitment to fill the knowledge gaps in working together to make a difference in providing much-needed support to marginalised members of the community.

Location Level 3  |  Material Woven with Cyperus gymnocaulos – commonly
known as Spiny Flat Sedge  |  Contributing artists Jelina Haines, Bessie Rigney, Aunty Millie Rigney & Bruce Trevorrow
Commissioned by Uniting Communities with support from Guildhouse in 2019

Visit Ngarrindjeri Culture.

Photographs by Craig Arnold

Pathway Opener by Haylee Williams

This painting is based on the values and vision of Uniting Communities – courage, growth, respect, accountability and teamwork – incorporating specific design elements and colours.

• The white snaking across the canvas symbolises the growth and career pathways provided to people who are united with their communities.
• Dots around the pathways represent the Uniting Communities staff who help to unite people with communities.
• Green around each pathway brings in Uniting Communities’ brand colours, with the slow extension of the green dots representing the growth people have achieved in working with Uniting Communities.
• The earthly colours that finish the canvas pay respect to the Indigenous land  upon which Uniting Communities has been built.
• In each corner and the centre of this piece are Aboriginal symbols representing Uniting Communities’ values: courage (bear print), growth (human print), accountability (feather), teamwork (wolf print) and respect
(buffalo print).

Location Level 3  |  Material Oil-based paints on canvas
Commissioned by Uniting Communities in 2019

Photographs by Craig Arnold

Uniting Communities is a child-safe organisation by Uniting Communities' clients

A child’s voice is powerful and should be heard, especially when it comes to a child’s feelings of personal safety. For that reason, Uniting Communities ran a competition to encourage children who are clients to create artwork that represents ‘what makes you feel safe?’

The competition was open across Uniting Communities with two age categories – children aged 12 years and under, and young people aged 13-18 years, and a specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders category.

The winning entries came from young people in the Aboriginal Community Connect, Family By Family and Ruby’s programs.

Location Level 3  |  Material Prints of original artworks; various media
Commissioned by Uniting Communities in 2019

Labyrinth by Rod Manning, Manning Sculptures

The Labyrinth ‘brain’ was inspired by Rod’s park run on Saturday mornings, starting at the McLaren Vale Labyrinth bike trail.

He felt that this, in metal, would be a mentally stimulating interactive work of art, based on his research into mazes and labyrinths.

Location Ground floor, Penaluna Place  |  Material Corten Steel
Acquired by Uniting Communities from the Patritti Brighton Jetty Sculptures Exhibition

Visit Manning Sculptures.

Balancing act by Matt Turley

Life can be a balancing act – love, family, work and play.

Location Level 3  |  Material Marine Grade Aluminium
Acquired by Uniting Communities from the Patritti Brighton Jetty Sculptures Exhibition

marni niina pudni by Jack Buckskin, Elyas Alavi & Fabricator Adelaide Trade Neon

Embracing the values of Uniting Communities, this neon light artwork promotes conversations within the inclusive and diverse community.

The artwork features Kaurna language, spoken for thousands of years by the Aboriginal people of Adelaide and the Adelaide Plains.

It is reflective of the commissioned artists, in the form of collaborative expression of culture, language and a sense of welcome.

Expressing the sentiments ‘good you came’ or ‘welcome’, the selected phrase for the illuminated artwork is: marni niina pudni

The commission is the collaborative work of:​​​​​​​

  • Indigenous Cultural Service Mentor Jack Buckskin
  • Local artist Elyas Alavi
  • Fabricator Adelaide Trade Neon

Location U City Foyer  |  Material Neon light

Kaleidoscope by Trent Manning & Kristin Wohlers

An old-fashion toy projected into today – giving us a beautiful sparkling combination of colour and light – to cheer us up!

Location Level 3  |  Material Corten steel, polycarbonate and Italian transparent smalti

‘Unconditional love‘ by ZhuZhu from Guildhouse

‘Unconditional love‘ depicts a sense of belonging and community. It shows the myriad birds flying towards the mother tree and the inclusive mother tree unconditionally opens to every bird and allows them to live on her body.

Every bird is unique but they are all connected with each other through colour, shape, or material, just like each individual person is different but they belong to the same South Australian community.

This work reflects the relationship between Uniting Communities and the South Australian communities. The mother tree represents Uniting Communities, while birds represent diverse communities and individuals.  The inclusive mother tree unconditionally provides a habitat for all the birds, which reflects Uniting Communities values of inclusiveness providing support to all the South Australian communities and individuals

Commissioned by Uniting Communities with support from Guildhouse in 2021

  • Local artist ZhuZhu

Location U City Foyer staircase and level 1  |  Material Metal

Light Weaves by Claire Wildish

“Weaving is a place where conversations are started, and stories are made.” Claire Wildish

Every Friday morning, artists, staff and residents of U City gathered in the foyer sharing, laughing, weaving and learning side by side.

Making and growing their community using materials they have found on long walks through the city, telling stories of their past lives and dreams of where they are going next.

  • Neon piece: Coloured neon on plyboard.
  • Weaving pieces: Raffia and locally found grasses.
  • Lamp Shades: Repurposed Fan Covers, locally found grasses and raffia, glass and wooden beads, pine board fixtures.

Commissioned by Uniting Communities in 2021 with the assistance of funding received under the South Australian Government Statewide Wellbeing Strategy, led by Wellbeing SA and with collaborative support by Guildhouse.

Contributing Artists:

Juju Haifawi – Lamp branch fixtures

Robyn Sutherland – Beading work

U City community – Weaving Neon pieces

Location U City Foyer next to the elevators | Material as mentioned above