Eltham Gateway sculpture revealed
A BOLD SCULPTURE with intricate detailing that plays with line, light and shadow has been announced as the public artwork to feature in the revitalised Eltham Gateway.
The sculpture has been created by Nillumbik artist Maureen Faye-Chauhan and celebrates the Shire’s unique bushland and the Traditional Owners, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people.
Wurundjeri Elders have chosen the title for the sculpture, Gunga winhanga warr bundha ba winhanga warr djurring in traditional Woi Wurrung language, meaning “Take what you need and not what you greed”.
The artwork announcement comes as landscaping works started this week on the Eltham Gateway project, which will see both sides of Main Road rehabilitated and landscaped with significant plantings of native vegetation.
The project is a collaboration between Council, Major Road Projects Victoria, Eltham MP Vicki Ward, and community group The Southern Gateway Renewal Group. Made of weathering steel and measuring more than 2 metres tall and 5 metres wide, the sculpture will be located north of Main Road between the flower stand and the Diamond Creek Bridge.
Maureen said she is passionate about the bush.
“Walking through the bush, it changes every day, you see the different forms of branches and rocks.
“It’s the exploration of form that has formed the basis of the artwork.
“The strongest idea that resonated with me for this project was working around the beautiful manna gums on site, exploring the significance of the trees for the Wurundjeri people,” she said.
The multi-dimensional twisted structure blends the shapes of the fallen twisted boughs of the manna gums, with that of a scarred tree form — created when First Nations people removed the bark for canoes, shields and other items.
“These acts did not destroy the tree, or the environment around it.
“The Wurundjeri idea that you take what you need and not what you greed is something we can all learn from,” Maureen says.
The artwork was realised through digital 3D modelling and will be made of 52 steel facets with linear cutouts allowing for a delicate play of light and shadow.
It is being fabricated at Alustain in Campbellfield, owned by another Nillumbik local, Brett Morrison. Once in place, the artwork will be illuminated at night with the opportunity to change colours for significant events.
Mayor Ben Ramcharan says the sculpture will become a contemporary landmark for the gateway to Eltham and the Green Wedge Shire.
“This unique piece really brings to life a key entrance to our Shire — public art that is easily accessible to our community is so important,” Cr Ramcharan says.
“The sculpture will provide us an opportunity to reflect on the ancient history of this land and the Traditional Owners as well as the environment that so many of us in Nillumbik hold so dear.”
Eltham MP Vicki Ward says, “The wonderful, organic, inclusive feel of this sculpture will really resonate with locals, and offers a real sense of arrival, of coming home, of being welcomed to Eltham.”
Maureen first began working with contemporary jewellery, then specialising in small sculptural forms.
This will be her biggest work yet.
Maureen’s works are in The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the National Gallery of Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia, and have been included in exhibitions around the world.
ID Landscaping, formerly known as Indigenous Design Landscaping, has been engaged to complete the landscaping works.
Work has started on clearing weeds, the installation of fencing along the creek, and preparing the ground for pathways and boardwalks.
For project updates visit Nillumbik Council’s website: nillumbik.vic.gov.au/eltham-gateway.