Commissioned by the Hobart City Council in 2013, The Yellow Line is the only permanent public artwork to acknowledge gay activism in Australia. This artwork symbolizes the line around the Tasmanian Gay Law Reform Group stall at Salamanca Market in the vicinity of which in October, 1988, 130 supporters were arrested by the police after the council deemed the stall ‘offensive’ for collecting signatures on a petition requesting that homosexuality be decriminalized. The Council backed down and allowed the stall to reopen and collect signatures on International Human Rights Day, December 10, 1988.
This artwork marks these events as the biggest act of gay civil rights disobedience in Australian history. The Yellow Line stands as an act of apology by Hobart City Council to the people of the city.
The artist is Justy Phillips. It features a pair of two meter by 20 centimeter LED light-boxes embedded in the footpath outside Parliament House. The boxes contain words lit from behind, which mark the arrests 25 years ago and question what it means to ‘cross a line’.