Kempsey Gateway Sculptures

Background

Since the completion of the Pacific Highway bypass in 2013, Council has been undertaking major road and streetscape development along the old highway as part of the Kempsey Corridor Master Plan. As part of the master plan, Council resolved to commission significant gateway sculptures at the Northern and Southern Highway Interchanges to form a welcoming Gateway to the town of Kempsey.

In April 2017, an Expression of Interest was advertised and open to all artists locally and nationally. Advertisements where placed through print and social media, artist publications, networks and on TenderLink. Artists were given the theme "Nature of Our Valley" conveying thematic elements that emerged through historical research and community consultation - the giant red cedar forests and the Macleay River.

Assessment

Council received a total of 21 applications. Six were shortlisted for assessment by a selection panel. The assessment panel was made up of a cross section of the community and included representatives from the Macleay Valley Arts Council, local primary schools, the Business Chamber, ratepayers, Dunghutti artists and Kempsey Shire Council.

The panel awarded the commission for the Southern Gateway Sculpture to Artventure (Paul Johnson and Gail Mason) and the Northern Gateway Sculpture to Matthew Harding and Tina Lee.

Northern Gateway Sculpture - Confluence

Titled Confluence - the artwork represents the convergence of the majestic Macleay River as it meanders through tributaries, gorges and waterfalls and meets the salt water of the South Pacific Ocean near South West Rocks. The shell formwork represents Indigenous middens in the Clybucca area symbolising the strength, survival and continuation of Dunghutti culture in the Macleay. The upright poles and interlacing wiring pay homage to the giant red cedar forests and billowing sails, referencing fragments of Frederickton’s’ shipping and timber industries.

Design concept of 'Confluence'Confluence - design concept

Southern Gateway Sculpture - Echoes

Following the thematic guidance of the Artist Brief, Artventure have made the cedar forests central to the design of the Southern Gateway Sculpture. Echoes provides a view of the history of logging in the Macleay and the central role of water transport.

Three related forms express the historical relationship between the Macleay River and the ancient forests. Cut into one is the shadow of the Indigenous bark canoe representing Dunghutti country 100 years ago; another reflects the wooden boats constructed on the river banks by the first white settlers; and the third suggests the cross-cut hand saw used by the early loggers.

These elements have been deconstructed and reassembled in contemporary abstract form to create a sculpture that alludes and ‘echoes’ the history of the Macleay.

The sculpture will be lit at night time using state of the art LED lighting providing a colourful luminous ambience.

Relationship examples of historical elements and current sculpture designRelationship of design elements
Southern Gateway Sculpture under construction Southern Gateway Sculpture under construction Southern Gateway Sculpture under construction Southern Gateway Sculpture under construction Southern Gateway Sculpture under construction Southern Gateway Sculpture under construction Southern Gateway Sculpture under construction Southern Gateway Sculpture under construction

Echoes - under construction

Echoes - installed at the South Kempsey GatewayEchoes - installed

Further information