Artwork to pay homage to Aboriginal culture and history

THE Hobart City Council has unveiled plans for its latest art installation at Franklin Square.

Titled “Two Islands”, the public artwork commission by internationally acclaimed artist Dr Nigel Helyer will pay homage to the rich history of the site.

The council has invested $100,000 into the concept development, construction and installation of the artwork, which will be installed in mid-2017.

Hobart Alderman Dr Eva Ruzicka said the 2011 Franklin Square Master Plan identified that interpretation of the park’s cultural significance was inadequate because it focused on historical events from a particular era, all portrayed for a single perspective.

“Little was made of the broader values that are entwined with that history,” she said.

“Nothing was told of the Mouheneenner people and their relationships with Sullivans Cove, or the known relationships between Sir John Franklin or Dr William Crowther and Tasmanian Aborigines.”

Ald Ruzicka said the artwork would operate on motion sensors and audiences would be able to listen while surrounded by two sculptural forms, the hull of John Franklin’s ship, the “Erebus”, presented alongside a modern version of a Tasmanian Aboriginal canoe.

The council put out a national call for submissions in March 2015, with Helyer’s work unanimously selected by the council’s independent Public Art Advisory Panel, followed by consultation with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.

Dr Helyer will work together with Aboriginal canoe-maker Tony Brown to create the work, and to provide opportunities for other Aboriginal people to contribute to the sound sculpture.

The artwork will be built locally using Tasmanian materials and fabricators including the Tasmanian Wooden Boat Centre and Barking Owl Audio.

Caption: An artist’s impression of the proposed artwork for Franklin Square that will bring to life the rich and multi-layered history of the park. Image courtesy of The City of Hobart.

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