A seven-metre-tall sculpture, celebrating the rich history of the area, has been erected on the South Kempsey roundabout.
Community Projects Officer, Olivia Parker, said the 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.