Australia’s LGBTQ+ statue Progress Shark is the gay icon we didn’t know we needed

Progress Shark

First there was “Bruce” in Jaws, then there was Don Lino in Shark Tale, and more recently we even had Baby Shark. But now there’s a new apex predator on the block: Progress Shark – and this one’s really queer.

An accidental icon of WorldPride, which is taking place in Sydney this year, Progress Shark is a massive shark statue, covered in the Progress Pride flag, who can be found outside the Australian Museum, Sydney.

An artistic impression of the shark managed to make a big splash on the internet, after being posted on social media by Sydney WorldPride, before it was even installed.

Although blown away by “all the love” for Progress Shark, the Australian Museum had to confirm that the installation – part of World Pride’s #RainbowCity initiative, with organisations across Greater Sydney installing rainbow monuments – wasn’t in place yet.

The installation, which features a metallic version of the flag that drapes into tassels below the shark, was eventually opened on 8 February.

By that point, however, the shark had already solidified itself as a cultural icon.

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Drag queen Art Simone quickly declared herself “Team #progresshark” in the comments on an Instagram post and also took to Twitter to say: “Sydney WorldPride progress shark is where it’s at!”

In response to the museum’s post about the installation opening, Sydney’s lord mayor, Clover Moore, said, “It’s your time to shine @progress.shark”, tagging a fan account that had been set up in dedication to the shark.

The artist behind the installation, George Roppingly-Goode, said she had a great time working on him.

“Loving the love this shark is getting. Even the hatred heckles are entertaining TBH [to be honest],” she wrote on Instagram.

And the shark does seem to have got some people worked up – including a politician.

Mark Latham, representing the right-wing One Nation Party, called it “garbage”.

He took to Twitter to say: “[New South Wales premier Dominic] Perrottet and his ministers bash our great community clubs while funding this garbage. Today’s Liberal and National Parties in action.”

Similarly, on Facebook, he said it was “complete garbage” that the New South Wales government “chooses to fund” a “rainbow LGTBIQ shark [sic]” when there were “roads falling apart, school results going backwards and power bills skyrocketing”.

World Pride is being help in Sydney from 17 February to 5 March, combining with the city’s 45th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.