THE ART OF DISCOVERY
From the kaleidoscopic street art that covers Melbourne’s iconic laneways, to the mesmerising light show that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Sydney’s CBD every winter, public art is a vital part of the cultural landscape of our cities and communities. For almost as long as humans have existed, we’ve turned to art as inspiration for new ways of thinking, stimulus for conversation, and a means of capturing the zeitgeist.
Public art in particular occupies a unique position within the art world. It doesn’t sit behind glass cases in ticketed galleries. It requires no formal attire, or companion with whom to hold a conversation. Public art—often stumbled upon and accidentally discovered—is free to access, providing inspiration for people from all walks of life and helping to create a sense of place through cultural vibrancy.
Central Park Public Art Collection
Central Park, NSW
Public art projects are an important part of a number of Frasers Property communities around Australia. Sydney’s iconic Central Park provides a backdrop for some of Sydney’s most exciting public artworks. The project’s $8 million public art collection welcomes locals and visitors to an area of Sydney that was closed to the public for more than 100 years, and draws intricate links between the city’s past, present and future.
The most recognisable piece in the permanent collection is Halo, a golden ring that balances delicately on a 13-metre tilted mast. Halo interacts passively with nature, rotating slowly or spinning rapidly with the changing winds. The piece was inspired by the site’s long history as a brewery, the circular form inspired by the brewing vats.
The Dragonettes by Vera Möller
Shell Cove, NSW
Just a few hours south of Sydney sits the idyllic coastal community of The Waterfront, Shell Cove. And at the heart of The Waterfront Town Centre lies The Dragonettes, an installation of 35 cast aluminium sculptures by artist and former biologist, Vera Möller.
When the project was first commissioned in 2015, Möller knew that she wanted to draw inspiration from the rich natural environment of the NSW south coast. It didn’t take long before she found her inspiration in the rich marine ecology of nearby Bass Point Reserve: the Weedy Seadragon. The spot patterns are drawn from the Seadragon’s skin, while their wavy shape is reminiscent of seagrass beds.
Möller is passionate about the impact that artworks like this have on passionate local communities undergoing significant change and development. “I think that public sculpture can fulfil a really important role in reminding us that we are working people that live in a built environment, but we shape these environments and we create our own culture,” says Möller. “In that sense, everybody is contributing.”
Foundation Bricks Project
Burwood Brickworks, VIC
One of the most recently completed public art pieces in the Frasers Property portfolio greets visitors to the innovative new Burwood Brickworks shopping centre. The Foundation Bricks project called upon local residents to contribute their thoughts on what makes a great community. The top 100 contributions were then hand painted onto recycled bricks most of which were produced at the original brickworks site on which the retail centre now stands.
Illustrator Lachlan Philip worked with the Burwood Brickworks team for 18 months to carry the project from concept to installation. The centre is aiming to achieve Living Building Challenge® certification, a strict set of sustainability criteria that forced Lachlan to rethink his normal process.
“I have a set of materials that I like to use and that I can rely on but those didn’t fit in with what was needed with this project in terms of environmental impact,” Lachlan explains. “So there was some research and collaboration involved in making sure we could tick all of those boxes.”
After working off-site for so many months, Lachlan was relieved to finally see the bricks set into their new home. “I’m really happy with how it’s come together,” says Lachlan. “By involving the community, you create a bridge or a link between them and this new construction. It’s more about that narrative and communication between a business and the people living here. Bridging the gap and getting people involved is really important, culturally.”
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