From emitting noxious gases to promoting safe sex – Sydney’s Hyde Obelisk received a risque facelift overnight.
The 18-metre phallic structure will wear Australia’s largest condom for the next week, as part of a campaign to end HIV. The creator ACON – a NSW health promotion organisation specialising in lesbian and gay health – wants to make the potentially deadly virus obsolete in NSW by 2020.
Principal planner Yves Calmette told The Newsroom that Sydney has the safest sex culture in the world but that it was “essential to keep using condoms to end HIV by 2020”.
“Ending the transmission of HIV is possible, but we need to keep using condoms and keep informed about safe sex,” said Mr Calmette.
It was impossible to miss the hot pink installation, with athletic Sydney local Josh pausing mid-run as the giant pink condom caught his eye.
“You can’t miss it, I think it’s really good that people are still talking about HIV and doing something to prevent it,” he said as he disappeared in a blur of track shoes.
Amanda Pryde, from Auckland, stopped to admire the imposing installation. “People need to be reminded about using condoms… using them should be natural and people seem to forgot about the importance of condoms and that people are still dying from HIV,” she said.
Unveiled in 1857, the obelisk is the park’s oldest structure, but it’s conception was not inspired through art. It was built to eliminate noxious gases from an underground sewer, by releasing them well above street level.
Fitting it with a suitably-sized condom – a task that took seven hours – required permission from Sydney Water, City of Sydney and Roads and Maritime Services.
– Rebecca Hopper
Top photo by Mohammad Rassa.