Sculptures to combine mining and nature

Published on 20 September 2019

Robbie Working.jpg

The Riddiford Arboretum Sculpture Symposium continues to take shape, with artist Robbie Rowlands revealing designs for the artworks.

The project combines nature's forms and our mining heritage to interpret the significance of Australia's first green belt, and the ground-breaking work of Albert Morris, the Barrier Field Naturalists' Club, and the Zinc Corporation to green our city.

Although initially planning to construct three smaller sculptures, Mr Rowlands said he would instead proceed with two large creations.

The first sculpture is expected to stand at around six metres and will be constructed of rock bolt splits from CBH's mining operations.

Mr Rowlands said the sculpture is inspired by the of plants and foliage found in the arboretum and the region.

"I was looking at the structural formation of the Arboretum plants, particularly the Casuarina plant which I photographed at night in the early research period," he said.

"However the work isn’t attempting to replicate any particular plant, it is drawing very much from organic compositions and qualities of the arboretum site and broader regeneration landscape."

The second sculpture is expected to span four metres in diameter and is inspired by the natural form of curled bark that the arboretum's trees produce.

"The sculpture will be constructed of recovered tension rods which were part of the CBH historic head tower, with an aim to find a way to allow the rods to be kept in original condition and structure," said Mr Rowlands.

"Working from early research with bark sourced from a dead tree in the arboretum site, I was looking at how I could use these curled dried bark forms as inspiration for a sculpture."

Mr Rowlands is undertaking the work with the support of TAFE NSW Broken Hill, who have facilitated the use of their metalwork facilities.

TAFE has also provided the assistance of their metalwork teacher, Graham Banks, Boilermaker and TAFE NSW metalwork graduate, Anthony Kelly, and TAFE NSW apprentices, Aston Reid and Cody Pascoe to assist with the project.

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager, Kate Baxter, said the project provided a great opportunity to collaborate with the community, whilst also showcasing the practical learning facilities at TAFE NSW.

“Not only did the project provide apprentices with an opportunity to learn different skills from an industry renowned artist, they have also assisted with the development of sculptures for their town that they can be proud of.

“TAFE NSW Broken Hill offers a range of hands-on courses in engineering and metal fabrication that cater to anyone who wants to enter a career in the industry."

The Scculpture Symposium project has been supported with $200,000 in funding by Create NSW.

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