New public artwork unveiled

A SIGNIFICANT new public artwork has been unveiled in Franklin Square, representing the tangible and intangible layers of history and meaning in this city centre public space.

The artwork – named ‘Two Islands’ – is comprised of three components: a scaled hull of Sir John Franklin’s boat, the ‘HMS Erebus’, a full-scale Tasmanian Aboriginal canoe and a motion triggered soundscape that plays sound files from interviews and archival clips that relate to the dual meaning of the work.

Two Islands was developed by Nigel Helyer, a sculptor and sound artist with an international reputation for his large-scale sonic installations, environmental sculpture works and new media projects.

“The Two Islands sculpture presents a metaphor that draws together histories of Tasmanian Aboriginal and European settler cultures in the form of two symbolic vessels,” Mr Helyer said.

“The skeleton of Sir John Franklin’s ship, the HMS Erebus, lies wrecked alongside a contemporary representation of a traditional Tasmanian Aboriginal canoe, creating a tension that resonates with the complex histories of Tasmania.

“Two Islands incorporates a soundscape comprised of many voices and perspectives, offering us potential to reflect upon the past to continue a dialogue of reconciliation into the future.”

Mr Helyer worked in collaboration with Tasmanian Aboriginal consultant Tony Brown and Tasmanian Aboriginal writer Greg Lehman to develop the refined concept for the work, including the design of the canoe, and to draw together a group of participants for the soundscape.

The work has been made by a number of local fabricators and craftspeople including Dynamic Welding in Moonah, Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin and local audio specialists Barking Owl.

For more information, visit hobartcity.com.au/TwoIslands.

Caption: The scaled hull of the HMS Erebus. Photo credit: Andrew Wilson Photography.

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