Canoe resurrected as public sculpture

Photo credit: Gerry van der Meer

A permanent legacy of the City of Greater Geelong’s Mountain to Mouth (M to M) biennial extreme arts walk will soon be unveiled at Big Rock in the You Yangs Regional Park. Mountain to Mouth is creating a contemporary songline. Uncle Bryon Powell, Executive Officer of Wadawurrung describes it as, “a tangible coming together of the old and the new”.

Internationally renowned artist Benjamin Gilbert has been engaged to create the permanent public sculpture in honour of M to M’s ephemeral Canoe, which was set alight at the end of the songline at the mouth of the Barwon River in May 2014.

Gilbert created the 2014 canoe that was carried by participants over 80km from the mountainous You Yangs through Geelong to Barwon Heads.

“It’s a real delight to do works that are meaningful and part of a much bigger project,” says Gilbert.

“I remember the event having a softness to it and people of all walks of life were gentle with each other and with Canoe – like they were carrying a fragile egg. It was a wonderful experience and created a chance for strangers to meet - that doesn’t often happen in our culture outside of sport.”

Gilbert’s sculpture, Remnant Canoe, is made from stainless steel bars using the same base and wheel of the original canoe.

The artist - whose work has been acquired by many including Denmark on the advice of Princess Mary - is ”honoured” that his sculpture will be installed in the You Yangs Regional Park.

Remnant Canoe will be launched at a Twilight Picnic at Big Rock from 4-6pm on Thursday 4 May where the City of Greater Geelong will hand over the work to Parks Victoria.

Celebrations will include sand patterning, artists at work, astronomers, native plant propagation, dance and illuminated artworks.

Photo credit: Gerry van der Meer

The launch includes very special music such as a song by Wadawarrung man and wordsmith, Barry Gilson, sung in language, followed by a performance created by multi-award winning opera singer and conductor Jonathon Welch AM (of the celebrated School of Hard Knocks).

Remnant Canoe Launch and the Twilight Picnic is a free event. Parking is available at the lower carpark. Attendees should allow 30 minutes to walk to Big Rock or catch the free shuttle bus to Big Rock.

Media enquiries:
Shannon Bryan
Ph: 0412 802 764