Seven metre sculpture to mark gateway to the Macleay

Media release - 4 May 2018

A seven-metre-tall sculpture, celebrating the rich history of the area, will welcome travellers as they enter the Macleay Valley from the southern exit of the Pacific Highway.

Kempsey Shire Council has completed foundation works on the southern interchange roundabout, in preparation for the installation this month of a striking cylindrical metal artwork.

Community Projects Officer, Olivia Parker, said two sculptures planned for the southern and northern gateways will be funded through the Kempsey Corridor Master Plan and will act as a welcoming symbol for locals returning home and people visiting our region.

“Public art, and particularly these large-scale sculptures, contributes to the cultural identity of the Macleay,” Ms Parker said.

“Council’s team undertook extensive historical research and worked with the community to develop the themes for briefing prospective artists.

“Artists were asked to reflect the history, landscape and community, particularly the shared history of the Macleay’s Indigenous peoples and early settlers, while also showcasing the Macleay River.”

A selection panel including representatives of the Macleay Valley Arts Council, Dunghutti artists, residents, the Macleay Business Chamber, youth and Council selected the artists to undertake the design proposal stage.

The southern gateway sculpture commission was awarded to artists Paul Johnson and Gail Mason from Artventure for their work titled “Trees”. Artventure’s sculpture is a representation of the history of the Macleay in a contemporary form and provides a visually striking piece that people can engage with.

The work, featuring LED lighting, includes three key shapes including indigenous bark canoes to represent the original inhabitants of the Macleay - the Dunghutti people, a cross cut saw to represent the early cedar getters, and the ribbed frames of the timber boat building industry.

Council advises that there will be some limited disruption to traffic during installation of the artwork over the coming weeks. Construction on the northern gateway sculpture will commence once designs are finalised for the commissioned artwork.

A design mock-up of the 7m high sculpture in the roundaboutA design mock-up of what the 7m high sculpture will look like when it is installed at the southern interchange roundabout in South Kempsey
Artist's impression of the sculptureArtist’s impression of the sculpture
Southern interchangeCouncil has completed foundation works on the southern interchange roundabout, in preparation for the installation this month of a striking cylindrical metal artwork

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