A striking steel and shell sculpture celebrating the Macleay’s diverse cultural heritage will soon greet people entering the Shire from the northern Pacific Highway interchange.
Kempsey Shire Council has begun foundation works at the Frederickton gateway in preparation for the installation of the contemporary public artwork later this month.
Titled ‘Confluence’, the artwork represents a convergence of heritage, people and environment and creates a sense of identity and place for Kempsey Shire and its visitors.
The commission was awarded to artists Matthew Harding and Tina Lee in September 2017 by a community panel. Tragically, Matthew passed away during the fabrication phase and Tina has continued the project in his legacy.
“We were both drawn to this public art project having had a strong affinity with the region – Matthew spent his formative years in Newcastle while I grew up in Coffs Harbour,” Ms Lee said.
“To honour Matthews’s legacy and our artistic collaboration, it was important to bring to fruition the artwork for the Kempsey Shire and its people.”
Community projects officer Olivia Parker said the sculpture would form an impressive welcoming gateway for the Kempsey Shire.
“Matthew Harding is an internationally-acclaimed artist, whose works are found in public spaces and galleries all around the world, and in many private collections,” Ms Parker said.
“He had a personal connection with Kempsey and we are truly honoured to have his incredible work on display here in the Macleay.”
The artwork features a series of upright poles and interlacing wiring representing the giant red cedar forests and billowing sails of Frederickton’s maritime and timber industries, combined with sculptured shell forms signifying the Indigenous middens of the Dunghutti culture in the Macleay.
Council has commissioned two sculptures for the Shire’s southern and northern entrances as part of the Gateway Sculptures Project funded through the Kempsey Corridor Master Plan.
Motorists are advised there will be some disruption to traffic at the Frederickton interchange during the installation of the artwork from Monday November 26 to Friday December 7.