13 December 2021

Trio of sculptures a royally Danish gift to the Snowies

| Edwina Mason
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'Together We Are Strong' sculpture by Danish artist Keld Moseholm in Tumbarumba.

The new sculpture Together We Are Strong by Danish artist Keld Moseholm in Tumbarumba. Photo: Supplied.

A remarkable collaboration with links to Danish royalty has sprung from the ashes of the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires, which is set to link small towns in the western foothills of the Snowy Mountains forever.

It was in the Tumbarumba Goldfields Park and Creekscape on Friday, 10 December, where a unique crowd gathered in cool, damp conditions to witness the dedication of a unique sculpture collection, the first in a series of showpiece artworks set to become a major attraction in the Snowies.

Doing the unveiling honours was Danish ambassador to Australia, Pernille Dahler Kardel, who officially unveiled three sculptures gifted to the people of Snowy Valleys by the Denmark-based Friendship Society of Denmark, Australia and New Zealand in a gesture of international friendship in response to the Black Summer.

Facilitated by the acclaimed Sculpture by the Sea, and thanks to a generous donation by the Friendship Society, the gifted sculptures in the collection include a piece by Danish sculptor Keld Moseholm called Together We Are Strong, another called Pipe and Fittings… Many Cubes by Perth artist Jennifer Cochrane, and Habitat by Marcus Tatton, a New Zealand artist based in Tasmania.

'Pipe and Fittings… Many Cubes' sculpture by Perth artist Jennifer Cochrane

Pipe and Fittings… Many Cubes by Perth artist Jennifer Cochrane. Photo: Supplied.

The three sculptures will form part of the forthcoming Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail, a new and significant series of sculpture collections in several of the towns and vineyards across the Snowy Valleys funded by the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund that will be launched in 2022.

Devised in consultation with Snowy Valleys Council, an appointed local community advisory group and the wider Snowy Valleys community, the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail will stretch 100km from Adelong to Tooma.

The advisory group consists of Angela Pearce from Adelong, Robyn Sweeney from Batlow, Laura Fraumeni from Tumbarumba, Jeff Sheather from Tooma, and Andrew Rae from Snowy Valleys Council, who work alongside local project coordinator Angela Lyons from Laurel Hill and Sculpture by the Sea staff in Sydney.

Moseholm, Cochrane and Tatton were selected as artists for the collection to represent Denmark, Australia and New Zealand as each of them had also exhibited at ‘Sculpture by the Sea, Aarhus’, in Denmark.

The Aarhus exhibition was initiated by Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark after they visited Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi.

READ ALSO Sculptures by the Sea now in the Snowies

The royal couple introduced the idea of Sculpture by the Sea to the City of Aarhus and became the exhibition’s patrons for the four biannual Sculpture by the Sea, Aarhus exhibitions from 2009 to 2015, which were as popular as the Sydney and Perth exhibitions, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors across four weeks.

It was during this time the Friendship Society developed a strong bond with Sculpture by the Sea in Australia, and after witnessing the devastating impact of the Black Summer bushfires, reached out to the not-for-profit organisation to find out how they could support one of the communities in Australia that had suffered significantly from the fires.

As Sculpture by the Sea was already well advanced in its planning with the local community to create the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail, the two organisations came up with the idea of the sculpture collection as a gift to the people of the region to help bring joy, as well as cultural and economic benefits to the Snowies.

'Habitat' sculpture by Marcus Tatton

Habitat by Marcus Tatton, a New Zealand artist based in Tasmania. Photo: Supplied.

In keeping with Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary’s role in fostering cultural and society ties between Denmark and Australia, they have been informed of the gift of the collection and warmly support the initiative of the Friendship Society.

This includes, in the near future, the Danish ambassador to Australia writing to each of the 2246 school students at the 13 schools across the Snowy Valleys about the gift of the collection from Denmark and bringing the students greetings from the Crown Prince and Crown Princess.

The Friendship Society of Denmark, Australia and New Zealand president Hanne Bache said Moseholm’s sculpture, Together We Are Strong, was a symbol of what the Friendship Society is about.

“For more than 50 years we have strived to strengthen the bonds between the three countries with art and culture exchange as one of our key focus areas,” she said.

“Globally we are far apart, but in our minds and hearts we are very close. So when the devastating bushfires raged across Australia, we wanted to reach out to help. That’s what friends are for.

“May the sculpture trail help Snowy Valleys through the healing process and bring a prosperous future.”

Sculpture by the Sea founding CEO and artistic director David Handley said the generous gift of the three sculptures celebrates two decades of cultural ties between Denmark and Australia through Sculpture by the Sea.

“It is with enormous gratitude that we thank the Friendship Society of Denmark, Australia and New Zealand for this wonderful gesture of international friendship,” he said.

“We have been humbled and honoured to facilitate this gift and [are humbled by] the enthusiastic response from everyone we have met so far in the Snowy Valleys to the idea of world-class sculptures in the public spaces of their home towns.”

Building on Sculpture by the Sea’s ‘Sculptors to Your School Outreach Program’ – which has seen more than 550 students at nine schools across the Snowy Valleys participate in artist-led sculpture making workshops since late 2020 – the collection and the forthcoming Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail will provide an educational and cultural opportunity for school students across the region to develop a firsthand understanding of sculpture and to meet artists from around the world.

It is anticipated the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail will also add to the social and economic recovery of the Snowy Valleys by providing new reasons for people to visit the region, which will provide business and social benefits through cultural tourism.

Further details of the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail will be announced ahead of its official opening in 2022.

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