4 September 2020

Bemboka community asked to choose site for new sculpture

| Sharon Kelley
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"Landed" sculpture by Thomas Westra.

Landed sculpture by artist Thomas Westra. Photo: Supplied.

Bega Valley Shire Council is asking Bemboka residents to choose a permanent site for an award-winning sculpture gifted to the village.

Residents can vote on a choice of two sites for the sculpture, Landed, by 13 September.

Landed was created by Moruya artist Thomas Westra, and won the Sculpture Bermagui competition in 2019. It features an eagle landing with legs stretched and talons gripping the shape of a heart.

Bega Valley Regional Gallery Director Iain Dawson said working within the boundaries of predetermined criteria – including site ownership, adequate land clearance, visibility and installation costs – there is a choice between two sites.

“Site one is in Bicentennial Park, on the corner of the Snowy Mountains Highway and Hoskins Street,” he said. “Site two is near the public toilets on the corner of Adams Street and Loftus Street.

“Public art is a captivating way of celebrating the identity and history of a community, enhancing the environment and contributing to a sense of place.”

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Mr Westra began experimenting with the art of forging hot steel 25 years ago and he found sculpting it to be most exciting, with endless possibilities. It is now his full-time job.

“I based Landed on the themes of exploration, searching and discovery; holding onto the special things in life, as well as achievement and passion,” he said.

“I chose the mighty eagle as a symbol of these themes and its ability to soar to great heights. Across cultures and society, the eagle is often a sign of freedom, strength, courage, resilience, healing and vision.

“The sculpture is made of hundreds of separate metal parts welded together. An eagle has powerful vision and the ability to see for many kilometres so I created its large eyes from mirror-polished stainless steel.

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“I hope the people of Bemboka can embrace Landed as an emblem for the community in their own special way. As we know with art, the message is really in the eye of the beholder.”

Bega Valley Shire Council has published a Have Your Say page and a voting poll for the community of Bemboka to help determine their preferred site for the sculpture.

Both the feedback page and poll close on Sunday, 13 September, 2020.

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