This project (2011 – 2014) involved a detailed collaborative process between myself as artist and a number of highly professional teams employed through Urban Growth NSW. These included: Guppy and Associates Public Art Project Management for Urban growth NSW, Landscape Architects Clouston and Associates and for Overall Project Management, Savills Australia. There was also a representative Public art Advisory group from Blacktown City Council. Aside from this I engaged nine subcontractors/ teams. These included Engineering; Arup Engineers, drawings; Charles Wright and Associates, steel fabricators; Fleetwood Urban, stainless panels; Smartfix, glass; Bent and Curved Glass, Graphic Interlayer; Montage graphics, electrical; Hotspot group, lighting; ECO LED Lighting and Glass Installation; Dee Why Glass.
Site and Background
The site for this project was at the centre of a new suburb 'The Ponds' in western Sydney 15mins by drive from Castle Hill. The original site was an old dam, created by one of the original farming families of the Outer Sydney area. The dam was turned into a wetland/ freshwater lake as part of a new urban development to cope with a housing shortage in Sydney. Because the community was new and developing I felt that an emphasis on engagement with them for content and even imagery was especially important for residents to gain a sense of ownership of the public art work.
Extensive community engagement occurred with the broader community and students from the local John Palmer School. A Darug Elder and local artist Edna Watson, was pre-eminent in these consultations.
The work is titled 'Ponds Dreaming' integrating the dreams of the consulted groups within the Ponds community. Their visions for the suburb were interpreted and translated into drawings, text and paintings which were layered through a series of 5 sequential images in glass on both the front and the back sides of the 5 sculptural forms. The front side depicts changing images of the sky while the back depicts corresponding reflections in the water.
The sculptural forms graphically tumble from the landscaped bank of the lake into the water. At night they light up the park as light-boxes and way points. During the day, the highly reflective stainless steel on two sides of the sculptural forms reflect the changing skies and light conditions. I particularly like the way the five forms both appear and disappear in the natural surrounds as a sculptural device. This is also a metaphor for our need to integrate urban environments with natural habitats.