About the exhibition

Making the Metro Tunnel: reflections by contemporary Australian artists captures the process of building this massive city-shaping rail project through artworks that respond to the project’s construction, as well as artworks from a creative partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.

Commissioned by the Metro Tunnel Creative Program, the exhibition aims to explore and celebrate the construction milestones of the Metro Tunnel Project which has been under construction for several years. The artists in this exhibition have taken inspiration from archaeological digs, heavy machinery, the aesthetics of worksites and worker’s equipment to produce their own portrayals of the project.

Making the Metro Tunnel is open 11am to 5pm Wednesday to Sunday, from 1 April to 7 May, at Domain House, Dallas Brooks Drive, South Yarra.

About the artists

Troy Argyros has painted several important objects found in the dig that are now under the guardianship of Heritage Victoria.

Kenny Pittock’s ceramics playfully represent items that were not deemed significant, but still contain clues to Melbourne’s social history, from old beer cans to plastic straws. All non-significant items shared with artists are from the period post-European settlement.

First Nations artists Jenna Lee, and Iluka Sax-Williams with Dan Bowran, have transformed fragments of post European settlement objects uncovered in the archaeological digs, into contemporary artworks.

The exhibition also includes a new painting by Emma Coulter, related to her epic colourful mural that adorned the acoustic shed over the new Town Hall Station site from 2020 to 2023.

Sculptor Daniel Agdag met with a tunnelling expert on the project, gaining access to diagrams of the tunnel boring machine that inspired the design of ‘The Instrumental’.

Michelle Hamer’s intricate hand-stitched works use a warm material to translate photographs of giant road headers and a concrete tunnel.

Harley Manifold’s atmospheric oil paintings capture the activity above and below ground, of construction sites busy with machinery and industry during the construction of the tunnels and stations.

Chelsea Gustafsson’s paintings pick up the common visual references that tied all the diverse working skills together – the highly recognisable items of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hardhats, high visibility vests, steel capped boots, safety glasses.

The exhibition also includes work from a partnership between the Metro Tunnel Creative Program and Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Four Melbourne artists were offered rare access to the State Botanical Collection at the National Herbarium of Victoria. Artists Caitlin Klooger, Tai Snaith, Dianna Wells and Oliver Ashworth-Martin have created wonderfully diverse responses to the Herbarium collection. Three of the artwork concepts have subsequently been reproduced as major hoarding artworks displayed around the Anzac Station construction site adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s Melbourne site.

Opening hours

Wednesday to Sunday: 11am to 5pm from 1 April to 7 May.

Entry is free.

Please note that the exhibition will be open on Good Friday.

Location

Domain House is located on Dallas Brooks Drive, South Yarra (off Birdwood Avenue, opposite the National Herbarium). Domain House is a 7 minute walk from the new Anzac Station.

Accessibility

The gallery is located on the ground floor of Domain House and is accessible for visitors in a wheelchair. A ramp is available to one side of the main entrance. An accessible toilet is also provided for visitors.

Exhibition catalogue

Browse the Making the Metro Tunnel catalogue below to learn more about the exhibition.