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Controversial Sydney sculptor pays respects

Friday, 2nd January, 2015

Newtown glass sculptor Sergio Redegalli with his glass wreath he made for the commemoration ceremony yesterday. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel Newtown glass sculptor Sergio Redegalli with his glass wreath he made for the commemoration ceremony yesterday. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel

By Emily Roberts

A Sydney resident was in the city to give the Sulphide Street Railway Museum a permanent object of remembrance  commemoration ceremony yesterday.

Newtown glass sculptor Sergio Redegalli has created a lot of controversy around having public discussions on racism and reverse racism.

“In 2010, I got involved in the discussion of wearing burqas when my friend wanted to wear one as part of an act for the Fringe festival,” Sergio said.

“He was threatened and was told his shop would be fire-bombed, so he censored himself.

“I thought creative people shouldn’t be bullied. That’s where this movement came from - not because of Islam or Muslims - but out of bullying.”

Sergio then created a “Say No to the Burqa” mural.

“It was to start a debate conversation - you can’t talk about topics these days because everyone is too politically correct,” he said.

“We need to be able to have conversations about distasteful subjects.”

Sergio said he had been accused of racism and bigotry.

“I think people should have a right to do what they like, but I don’t believe in double standards,” he said.

In October, Sergio and his friends attracted attention when they tried to enter parliament house with Ku Klux Klan clothing and motorbike helmets - they were denied access.

They then changed into burqas and were granted access.

“This stemmed from the fact you can’t wear motorbike helmets into banks, but you can wear a burqa,” Sergio said.

Sergio was in the city yesterday to take part in the centenary commemoration of the Picnic Train attack.

“I had no idea there was such a big community-lead project,” he said.

“Christine Adams, Curator, Sulphide Street Railway Museum, has done an incredible job of putting this together.

“We were committed to having our own personal memorial because we believe the attack is not well known.

“We spoke to various media outlets and it was pretty sad to see how little people knew.”

Sergio created a glass wreath which he gave the museum yesterday.

“Lots of wreaths will be made for events, but this is one that is a permanent object of remembrance,” he said.

“I wanted to give back to the community.”

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