13 June 2023

Pipe dream becomes towering reality for prize-winning Bega sculptor

| Claire Sams
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Weed will now join other permanent works on the Batemans Bay Sculpture Walk. Photo: Richard Moffatt.

A Bega artist has added another feather to his cap, taking home the $60,000 Sculpture for Clyde Acquisitive Prize.

Richard Moffatt’s work had already been installed at Parliament House and the National Arboretum in Canberra, as well as along the Snowy Mountains Highway and other locations in New South Wales and Queensland.

One of his works, Weed, will now remain in Batemans Bay after being selected to join the Sculpture Walk.

“It’s always incredibly exciting to win a prize and have your work recognised,” he said.

“Because it’s acquisitive, my work goes out there into a public place to stand alongside other beautiful pieces of creativity that other sculptors have designed and made.”

Moffatt entered the work in Sculpture for Clyde, a 10-day public art festival focused on sculpture, held from 24 May to 4 June.

But work on Weed started long before the exhibition opened.

“It was a long-term dream coming to fruition, since that particular piece was made in 2017 but it needed to weather before I actually entered it,” Moffatt said.

“I set it up between Bega and Tathra on a dairy farm, where people drove past.

“They were looking it at every day and watching it rust.”

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Moffatt welded steel pipes together to make his sculpture.

“Those pipes are an industrial material that’s used in petrochemical and industrial mining – and I did work in that industry in the 1990s,” he said.

“I was first inspired while working in Mt Isa and thought, ‘Imagine having the ability to work creatively with this material and make sculptures with it’.”

In the years since, Moffatt has dedicated time to building his sculpture skills.

“This let me come up with more and more radical and whimsical shapes and designs with those materials,” he said.

His plans were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was just such a beautiful finish to the story, having that work be designed specifically for that exhibition and finally being able to enter it,” he said.

“It was the icing on the cake to win the Acquisitive Prize as well.”

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Participating in something like Sculpture for Clyde gave artists and the wider public a chance to come together, Moffatt said.

“I know a lot of artists because of these exhibitions, where you can meet them year after year,” he said.

“At each exhibition, I’m setting up with them and sharing stories and becoming friends with people that otherwise I perhaps wouldn’t have met.

“It’s a great gateway for creative people to get together, help each other and really support one another.”

Other Sculpture for Clyde award winners include James Bunter with Bubble Rock and Wil Edwards-Franchimon with Release.

Additionally, students from Carroll College took home the Student Sculpture Prize with Identity Totem Poles, while Senden Blackwood’s Portmanteau won the Major Award.

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