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Anthony Albanese intervenes to light sails for Narendra Modi

NSW Arts Minister John Graham is now considering a revised policy that limits the kind of events that are eligible for illumination while supporting the sails being lit for significant artistic, community and cultural moments.

A spokesperson for Minns said the prime minister’s office had made a direct request to the Sydney Opera House and the cost would be borne by the federal government.

The cost of lighting is understood to range from $10,000 for single colours achieved by using gels on the Opera House floodlights, to upwards of $50,000, depending on the complexity and duration of the illumination, and if the image requires design and projection from the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

The Opera House sails have come to be lit regularly for reasons of national days of significance (Indian independence); international festivals (Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, Lunar New Year); military invasions (twice for Ukraine); sporting achievements (the Beijing Winter Olympics) and in Australia’s soft diplomatic interests (the anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty).

The deaths of notable leaders and citizens have been increasingly marked by projections on the state’s most valuable cultural asset, from Queen Elizabeth II to Olivia Newton-John and former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, as well as police officers and paramedics killed while on duty.

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Sydney Morning Herald subscribers can enjoy 2-for-1 tickets* to the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales during June 2023. Click here for more details.

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