19 October 2022

Two new world-class installations unveiled for Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail

| Edwina Mason
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Sculpture in garden

Ron Robertson-Swann’s Hildegard Von Bingen was included in the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in Aarhus, Denmark, and is now destined for a permanent home in Tooma. Photo: Sculpture by the Sea.

The fabulous new world-class Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail – which opened in May 2022 – will now have additional works for the public to seek out.

Two new significant works – Colossus by Ukrainian artist Egor Zigura and Hildegard Von Bingen by NSW artist Ron Robertson-Swann – will be unveiled at public celebrations early next week.

Colossus is bound for the Tumbarumba Creekscape and will be unveiled by Volodymyr Shalkivskyi, deputy head of mission at the Ukraine embassy in Australia, at 2 pm on Monday, 24 October.

This is the seventh sculpture to be installed in the town and the 28th in the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail, which is a permanent exhibition.

READ ALSO Snowy Valleys’ 100 km sculpture trail opens early May

Zigura and his partner, Viktoria Kulikova, art director at Kyiv’s Abramovych Art Agency, will witness the unveiling, travelling to the region after the opening of Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2022 on Friday, where a showcase of Ukrainian works was a highlight.

Zigura will donate 25 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of Colossus to the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail to support the Ukrainian military.

He holds a postgraduate degree from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Kyiv, Ukraine, and has exhibited internationally in the UK, France, Italy and Spain, and at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2019.

Zigura is represented in private collections in China, Denmark, England, France, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain and the US.

The second permanent sculpture to be installed in Tooma and the 27th in the collection, Hildegard Von Bingen, will also be unveiled on Monday at 4:30 pm at Brigham House in Tooma, this time by Member for Albury Justin Clancy.

Robertson-Swann’s work was inspired by Saint Hildegard, a German Benedictine abbess and polymath who was a visionary writer, composer and philosopher.


Colossus by Ukrainian artist Egor Zigura will be unveiled in the Tumbarumba Creekscape next Monday as part of the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail. Photo: Sculpture by the Sea.

Of his work, Robertson-Swann says: “Hildegard wanted her music to be like a ‘feather on the breath of God’. The sculpture is like a spiral movement of a feather in space, finding its place of rest in a pool.”

One of the most noted sculptors in Australia, with key leadership roles in the departments of sculpture at the National Art School and Canberra School of Art, Robertson-Swann was instrumental in the establishment of Sculpture by the Sea.

He has exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 12 times since 2000, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe four times since 2005 and at the Aarhus counterpart event in 2009 and 2015.

He is also represented in major public collections, including the Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery of Western Australia, National Gallery of Victoria and the National Gallery of Australia.

READ ALSO Trio of sculptures a royally Danish gift to the Snowies

Robertson-Swann said he was pleased to see some ex-students also making important contributions to such a significant community project in the region.

“It intensifies the focus on an artform often overlooked but the only one robust enough to survive such conditions,” he said.

“My sculpture Hildegard Von Bingen has found its home and I am pleased with how it’s been sited. Hildegard can sing from there,” he added.

“I think there is already evidence of the impact this project by Sculpture by the Sea is having on the region. A piece of Paris has come to the Snowy [sic],” Robertson-Swann said.

Members of the public are invited to attend both ceremonies next week.

Funded by the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, the 100-kilometre Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail stretches across seven locations in Adelong, Batlow, Courabyra Wines, Johansen Wines, Tumbarumba, Obsession Wines and Tooma.

While it launched with 26 sculptures by Australian and international artists from Denmark to Japan and South Africa to the Czech Republic, it is set to expand to about 35 sculptures by 2023.

Hand in hand with Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi and Cottesloe, the permanent collection has evolved through consultation with a wide cross-section of the Snowy Valleys community, the Snowy Valleys Council and a local community advisory group.

As part of the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail, artists have already visited 14 of the 16 schools across the Snowy Valleys to provide sculpture-making workshops for more than 1200 students.

Three empty shops in Batlow and Tumbarumba have also been transformed by artists into Shop Art Projects.

Sculpture by the Sea founding CEO and artistic director David Handley said that while the expectation of the project was a solid increase in the visitation to the Snowy Valleys, the response had been far greater than we expected at this early stage of the sculpture trail.

“Probably the best example of this is during the 18 months of planning for the sculpture trail, whenever we would walk along Adelong Creek we would usually only see another person or two on the walk on every second or third visit,” he explained, “now, even in the middle of winter we are seeing at least nine up to a dozen and a half people every time we do the walk”.

“This is locals as well as people coming to Adelong just to see the sculptures,” David added.

“We put this down to the strong media coverage of the opening of the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail in Canberra, Sydney and Wagga Wagga as well as some good media right across NSW,” he said.

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