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Meet The Woman Tasked With Brightening Sydney's NYE Party

When Nadia Hernández was eight years old she packed two suitcases and, as the clock chimed midnight and rang in the New Year, made a run for the front door of her family home.

“My family were like, ‘She’s off!’” Nadia laughs now. “My mum had to chase after me. She was like, ‘You can’t go by yourself, you’re too little!’”

The Venezuelan-born artist is sitting in the St Peter’s studio she shares with her boyfriend as she explains that her runaway attempt was actually a traditional way of celebrating New Year’s Eve.

“We have a lot of traditions around New Year’s Eve but [this one] represents that you’ll get to travel the following year,” Nadia says.

And travel she did; a year later, Nadia moved to the United States with her mother before eventually settling in Australia when she was 16 years old.

It was, she admits, a defining moment in her life and one that seems to have come full circle as she is announced as the featured artist for Sydney’s 2017 New Year’s Eve celebrations.


Nadia is laughing again as she pulls out a prototype for the banners that will adorn lamp posts around the city in the run up to the annual countdown.

“I probably make things harder for myself but I enjoy the process!” she says, demonstrating how each element is first cut from paper and assembled manually before being scanned and digitally redrawn.

The result is artwork that is impossible not to smile at; all of those things that make Sydney the place to be on New Year’s Eve – the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, our beaches, our fireworks – have been reimagined in a joyful colour palette of vivid oranges, warm yellows and bright greens and blues.

Those summery hues will carry right through the evening, too, with the official artwork projected onto the Harbour Bridge as the city comes together to ring in 2018.

Even our world-famous fireworks displays are taking inspiration from Nadia’s love of primary colours, something she describes as “an extreme privilege”.

“It’s one of those projects that, as an artist, you always dream of doing,” Nadia smiles. 

“I hope people feel a great sense of energy… of hope. I think that’s something that we need right now in the world.

“[New Year’s Eve] is a time where everybody is together, everybody is celebrating.

“It’s the most exciting time of the year!”

-by Deirdre Fogarty

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