By Evelina Mezennaja
A giant model shark in a rainbow swimsuit became a viral World Pride festival symbol.
The Australian Museum wanted to create a unique sign to welcome thousands of visitors to the month-long celebration in Sydney and came up with the Progress Shark idea.
The stereotypically dressed for the beach shark “has become the accidental icon of World Pride,” Amanda Farrar, a head of the museum’s pride committee, tells the BBC.
A 10 meters white shark was already displayed on one of the busiest city crossings in from of the museum, when Farrar came up with a simple but effective idea to cover the water creature in a rainbow.
The Progress Shark quickly grabbed international attention and pictures of it transformed into various memes. The new Instagram star has its own account and a solid fan base among who is Australian drag queen Courtney Act.
George Buchanan, an artist who brought the bold and colourful project to life, couldn’t imagine such a success while crafting the outfit in her garage.
“It’s a ridiculous choice. But I think people need a bit of silliness in their lives,” she tells the BBC.
The trendy swimsuit shows two symmetrical “progress flags” – an updated form of the Pride flag created in 2018.
Dressing the shark was the main challenge because Ms Buchanan and a helper during around seven hours had to sew the swimsuit on to the shark while being five metres above the ground.
Apart from the Progress Shark, the city will be decorated with other colourful displays. The sails of the Opera House will be lit up with the progress flag, Bondi Beach’s famous sea wall will be covered with Pride murals and some of the city’s most famous streets already have been painted in rainbow colours.
World Pride festival will be hosted in Sydney, Australia during February and March. The celebration includes the 50th Australian Gay Pride Week, 45th Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, and the very first WorldPride in the southern hemisphere.