Opera House honour for Aboriginal women

The iconic white sails of the Sydney Opera House will be transformed into a kaleidoscope of blue, purple, green and yellow to honour Aboriginal women of historic significance on Australia Day.

Kamilaroi woman and visual artist Rhonda Sampson, 40, created Diyan Warrane (Women of Sydney Cove) to memorialise the stories of Barangararoo, Boorong, Patygerang and Daringa around the harbour using graphic design programs.

"It is culture meeting modern day tools to tell our stories," she told AAP with the Opera House behind her.

"All this harbour was the women's domain so they would fish, they would sing and keep time ... I wanted this artwork to reflect the culture and history of where we're standing which is Gadigal land".

"When I look around now after knowing these (women's stories), I can't look at this place the same way. I just look at Sydney very differently now".

The digital projection spanning the sails of the Opera House will go live at 5.20am on January 26.

Even though the date marks the beginning of European colonisation in 1788, for Ms Sampson her dot painting interpretations of the maritime environment are drawn from the landscape.

At the centre of the artwork is an orange motif that represents Tubowgule (Bennelong Point), the site where the Sydney Opera House is situated, meaning where the knowledge waters meet.

Boorong, the daughter of Maugoran and Goorooberra, whose name means "firestick", belonged to Burrumattagal, "the place where eels lie down" (now known as Parramatta). She is depicted as a bright star with red and yellow beams.

Me-Mel (Goat Island) blends greens and yellows while the blue backdrop drives home the point of the importance of water as a life source to sustaining cultures.

"This is to pay tribute to women who have not completely forgotten but we want to retell those and shine that light on them," Ms Sampson said.