23 February 2024

Giant kinetic apple tree takes root in Batlow

| Edwina Mason
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"Eden" statue in Batlow

A new wind activated statue on the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail can be found in Batlow. It’s called Eden and the local folk love it. Image: Sculpture by the Sea.

Batlow has a new sculpture, and it moves!

Unveiled just weeks ago – the giant kinetic apple tree is, as the community describes it, all apples.

And from its vantage point in Reedy Creek Park on the northern approaches to the town, it serves as a reminder to visitors of the fruits of the region and the strength and spirit of the community.

It’s worth a trip just to see its branches respond to the breeze.

The significant new sculpture by internationally renowned artist Phil Price has been called Eden and is the most recent addition to the evolving Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail.

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Standing 6.8 metres high and spanning 5.7 metres in width, Price’s kinetic carbon fibre sculpture with precision bearings is actually a giant apple tree that moves in the wind, welcoming people as they arrive in Batlow.

The New Zealand-born sculptor lives and works in Lyttleton (New Zealand) and Melbourne and is regarded as one of the foremost sculptors of wind-activated kinetic works of his generation, an art form he started pursuing in 2000.

His work is widely acknowledged for its breathtaking beauty, evocation of the natural world, extraordinary design and strength in all conditions.

For instance, his sculpture Journeys graces the road at the entrance to Canberra International Airport.

Other major public sculptures include Cytoplasm in Auckland; Tree of Life, McClelland Gallery Victoria; Nucleus, Hamilton in Victoria; and Snake, Aarhus in Denmark.

Price’s work is also included in significant private collections across the world including Austria, USA, Switzerland, Holland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Eden replaced the previous sculpture Green Life – a moveable piece symbolising regrowth – designed and constructed by Milan Kuzica from the Czech Republic, which now sits at the centre of Batlow, and was the subject of lengthy discussion at a recent Snowy Valleys Council meeting, with some residents objecting to its new location.

Sculpture in Batlow.

The moveable sculpture GreenLife is in a new location in the centre of Batlow, but locals aren’t too sure about it. Image: John Riddell.

But Max Gordon-Hall of the “Do it for Batlow” progress group, said it was great to see GreenLife ‘shoot’ and grow into Eden at Reedy Creek.

“This is a truly great symbol of Batlow and the region’s bushfire recovery,” he said.

While in Batlow for the unveiling of Eden, Phil Price hosted free sculpture-making workshops for local school students at St Mary’s and Batlow Technology School as part of the Snowy Hydro School Education Program in the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail.

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The Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail has been created by the team behind Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi in partnership with the local communities across the Snowy Valleys.

With Eden added to the trail, the collection has grown to 38 sculptures at eight locations across 150 kilometres of the Snowy Valleys in the towns of Adelong, Batlow, Talbingo, Tumbarumba, the hamlet of Tooma and the vineyards with cellar doors at Courabyra Wines, Johansen Wines and Obsession Wines.

Founding CEO and Artistic Director of Sculpture by the Sea and the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail, David Handley, said the first time Phil Price exhibited outside of New Zealand was at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi in 2003 when he received the People’s Choice Award and again in 2009.

“He has since gone on to establish a major international career all around the world, so it is great to see Eden in Batlow and for his sculptures to be as well received in Batlow as they were at Bondi,” he said.

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