New public art brings community together

Installed today and titled Meeting Place, Mackay’s community art sculpture represents the diverse geographical areas of the region and the communities they support.

It’s iconic then that the mangrove-inspired sculpture is decorated with etchings created from prints made during eight public workshops attended by 124 participants.

City Centre Revitalisation project manager Jim Carless said Meeting Place was the final piece of public art to be installed as part of the City Centre revitalisation project.

“Mackay is so much more than just the city and we wanted to incorporate that by inviting residents from all over the region to contribute to this sculpture with prints that were traced into a CAD program and then laser etched onto the ‘branches’,” Mr Carless said.

“The prints were made during workshops held as far afield as Eungella, Bloomsbury and Sarina and included groups from the Yuwibara community and the Australian South Sea Islander community.

“Initial public consultation influenced the shape of the design and led to a more ‘leafy’ top.

“Those consulted also helped to suggest a series of iconic locally-inspired shapes for the prints/etchings.

“These shapes included various species of local birds, fish, animals, plants and iconic local sights like the Australian South Sea Islander Meeting Hut.

“Meeting Place’s mangrove forms symbolise the meeting of freshwater and sea, and the interconnectedness of ecosystems. The curved composition represents the Pioneer River.

“The sculpture will be brought to life after the sun sets with an LED lighting system programmed to shades of aqua with subtle animated variations as a reference to the tropical waters around the mangroves.”

The lead artists on the project were Wanda Bennett and Tracey Johnson, and printmaking workshops were tutored by Lesley Kane, May Mosshammer, Rosemary Payne and Brigitte Zimmermann.

Mrs Bennett said it was a joy to work with so many local artists and tradespeople on the project.

“The sculpture was created by Expert Laser Solutions, Jeff Eales Sheet Metal and CLM Mining/Engineering,” she said.

“Every print produced ended up etched into the design, with those creating them age from five to 75.

“We were very inclusive and I think the public will enjoy getting up close and examining the various local images.”

Contact: Mackay Regional Council

Phone: 1300 MACKAY (1300 622 529)

Published: 27 Oct 2015