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Fellow Travellers

The Cedars Biennale is one of SA’s most popular outdoor sculpture events for artists and visitors alike. Selected artists are invited to choose their site out in the beautiful landscape of the Hans Heysen historic property in Hahndorf SA. Some elect to install works made off-site and others may work directly in the environment.

Returning to my first and favourite site within a copse of giant white Eucalyptus Rubida, the remains of a previous work of bracken fern and bark were included into a much larger theatrical and mysterious setting.

Bracken fern, silvery Cootamundra wattle and pale grey windfall branches collected on-site and close by were woven and cotton-bound together. 20m long and up to 3m high.

Anthropomorphic, creature or shelter-like forms were integrated with the trees and had the placement and feel of a village, a family or herd.

I received several texts and emailed photos from visitors long after the summer event, telling me how their children had enjoyed a picnic or play inside the shelter of a “creature”. Or how moved they had been by this image of inclusivity and kinship of humans with the trees and other living beings- it was also described as being “frankly Tolkeinesk”.

My private intentions and ideas are secondary to the real and personal experience others may have through contact with these works.

I do notice though, how different it is when a work is multiform and on a human body scale. Rather than being a single object with an object/viewer polarised relationship, where the work carries a certain authoritarian role as ”art”, the sculpture becomes a setting, a theatre. A visitor becomes an actor in motion amongst the forms just by entering the space, exploring and responding, getting different perspectives and insights, and I hope this leads to a greater sense of connection and a stirring of thought and feeling.

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