Little green men descend on Sydney

Little green men descend on Sydney

Sydney is set to be overtaken by little green men drawn from all corners of the globe.

A celebration of the ‘flashing men’ (and women) that stop traffic around the world and keep pedestrians safe will adorn street banners on some of Sydney’s main roads as part of Art & About Sydney.

Walking Men WorldwideTM is a photographic collage of 99 different pedestrian traffic light icons that represent the ‘walking man’ around the world.

One of the world’s most recognisable figures, the ‘walking man’ is arguably an international celebrity – a street icon that breaks down language barriers and appears in various forms around the world as an integral part of the urban landscape.

How each country represents the ‘walking man’ is intriguing and sometimes surprising:

  • In Odense, Denmark, the silhouette of Hans Christian Anderson decorates traffic lights;
  • Children’s book and TV character Miffy has appeared in traffic lights in The Netherlands;
  • The Amplemann (little traffic light man) is the symbolic figure of traffic lights in Berlin;
  • In several European cities, traffic light icons are represented by females.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Art & About Sydney was all about bringing art out of the gallery into public places where new audiences can enjoy it.

“These ‘walking men’ banners show just how significant a role art and design play in shaping the personality of urban environments,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This project celebrates the most popular way of getting around our city – no matter how people get here, once they’re in the city pretty much everyone walks.”

The project’s artist, Maya Barkai, said: “Standardised yet diverse, the characters of Walking Men WorldwideTM commonly show us the safe way of travel but also provokes multiple levels of conversations.

“The project is a collaborative effort of international photographers who have each added a piece from their own neighbourhood to the collection of images that together form our world.

The figures invite the audience to recognise, connect and perhaps provoke a dialogue around this simple yet special icon.”

Israeli artist Ms Barkai first introduced Walking Men Worldwide™ in 2010 at the construction site of the upcoming Four Seasons Hotel in New York City.

This project was followed by Men At Work, featuring life-size renderings of the ‘working men’ figures from cities around the world, wrapping World Trade Center Tower 4 in NYC.

The project has also been featured at the PERMM Museum of Contemporary Art in Russia and the Bat Yam Biennale in Israel.

Art & About Sydney
runs from 20 September to 20 October 2013.

For more information, visit or contact:

Art & About Publicist Elaine Kelly.
Phone 0401 54 33 54 or email

City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Keeley Irvin.
Phone 0448 005 718 or email

For interviews with the Lord Mayor, contact Matt Levinson.
Phone 0427 044 768 or email