Twin Creeks Events
Gondwana Link Sculpture
Ben Beeton is a Queensland based artist who has focused on presenting and interpreting the grand evolutionary stories of Australia. In 2017, during a Gondwana Link Artist in Residence project at the Albany Vancouver Arts Centre, Ben was introduced to local Menang Noongar Elder and cultural advisor, Carol Pettersen. The idea for creating an artwork that brought together evolutionary and cultural richness emerged from Carol’s accounts of her family’s song lines as she was growing up in the southwest. The 3.5m sculpture, representing the evolution of regional flora and fauna over hundreds of millions of years, through the lens of Noongar and western viewpoints, is the result of their collaboration.
Research for the selected regional flora and fauna species was undertaken by a group of people renowned for their expert local knowledge: members of the Porongurup Friends’ citizen science fauna team, Bo Janmaat and Loxley Fedec, native seed specialist Peter Luscombe and tour operator Gary Muir, of WOW Wilderness Ecocruise.
Carol Pettersen held a series of workshops with regional Noongar artists, including with Noongar inmates of Pardelup Prison Farm, to create representations of flora and fauna in traditional style for the outer 15 panels of the sculpture.
The inner panels feature naturalist studies of selected species created by Ben and scientific illustrator, Mali Moir. Further plant studies were exquisitely drawn in detail by artist Jane Thompson. Textile artist Jenny Wilson created natural, dyed regional plant impressions representing how plants may appear in the fossil record of the future.
The sculpture was crafted by Mark Hewson of Torbay Glass Studio in collaboration with local steel manufacturer Patrick Bocian of Bakers Junction Engineering.
Funding for the sculpture and its artwork was provided by the WA Government through the Great Southern Development Commission's Regional Economic Development Grants Program, a Regional Arts WA Resilience Grant, and Gondwana Link. The project was overseen by Gondwana Link with coordination support by Elizabeth Jack, Centre of Sustainable Tourism.
The sculpture has been permanently installed within the Twin Creeks Conservation Reserve which is privately owned by the Friends of the Porongurup Range.
The sculpture is the first in a series of proposed public artworks to link Indigenous song lines across Australia
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