Opening Time For Sculpture in the Vines


I love it when I sit back and reflect on my art practice when I am in the middle of a busy session – and this is one of those. This is the story about one of the projects being realised this Oct/Nov.

Last Friday there was a whole bunch of brightly coloured mannequins belting up the Pacific Highway north of Sydney- it was a sight to see. After several weeks of fibreglassing, sanding, re-arranging, more sanding and bogging, and finally spraying, spraying, and more spraying – 20 of these lil fellas were loaded up and belting up the road doing 100ks to Wollombi Wines in the Hunter Valley.

Tonight (Saturday) is opening night, and it will be open to the public throughout Wollombi for the month of November.

But why put bright dummies in a vineyard? Well here is an edited version of my proposal/artist statement:

“Forest for the Trees”

This site specific installation seeks to highlight the widening gulf between those who have the ability and means to help and the increasing numbers of those who need that help.

In 2013, Oxfam reported that the world’s 100 richest people earned enough money to end extreme poverty worldwide four times over. It was said: “We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true.”

So many suffer, yet so few hold the key to unlocking that suffering.

But before we ‘tut tut’ on the woes and hard-heartedness of others, a Credit Suisse report shows that WE (Australia) are the richest people in the world (measured by median adult wealth). In fact, one commentator in the Guardian observes: “… the reality is, Australians are, in a global context, stinking rich.”

A direct result of this condition is rampant materialism. It has been linked “with more antisocial and self-centred behaviour. One of the effects of materialistic disposition is a greater tendency to treat people as objects to be manipulated and used.”

These multi-coloured mannequins placed in a manicured forest setting seeks to highlight the pervasive underlying attitude of many in this world that other people are not important – they are just other objects in this world.

I wish to use this negative to express the opposite extreme to our self-centred culture: Each is important and deserves to be treated with dignity and compassion.