In a gesture of international friendship in response to the Black Summer Fires the Denmark-based Friendship Society of Denmark, Australia and New Zealand has gifted three sculptures to the people of the Snowy Valleys. The gifted sculptures, one each by a Danish Australian and New Zealand artists, has been facilitated by Sculpture by the Sea following a donation by the Friendship Society, with the sculptures installed in the Tumbarumba Goldfields Park and Creekscape.
Her Excellency Pernille Dahler Kardel, the Danish Ambassador to Australia, unveiled the Collection at a media launch in Tumbarumba. The event was hosted by ABC Radio Riverina’s breakfast presenter, Sally Bryant, and attended by Kristy McBain MP, Member for Eden-Monaro; Justin Clancy MP, Member for Albury; Paul Holton, Executive Director Community & Corporate, Snowy Valleys Council; Sculpture by the Sea Founding CEO & Artistic Director, David Handley; and artist Marcus Tatton.
Facilitated by Sculpture by the Sea, thanks to a generous donation by the Friendship Society, the gifted sculptures in the Collection are ‘Together We Are Strong’ by Danish sculptor Keld Moseholm, ‘Pipe and Fittings… Many Cubes’ by Perth artist Jennifer Cochrane and ‘Habitat’ by Marcus Tatton, a New Zealand artist based in Tasmania.
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 and to be launched in 2022.
Devised in consultation with the 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 Local Community Advisory Group consists of Angela Pearce from Adelong, Robyn Sweeney from Batlow, Laura Fraumeni from Tumbarumba, Jeff Sheather from Tooma and Andrew Rae from the 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 in the Collection as each of them had also exhibited in 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, Bondi during the Sydney Olympics in 2000. The Crown Prince Couple introduced the idea of Sculpture by the Sea to the City of Aarhus and became the Exhibition Patrons for the four biannual Sculpture by the Sea, Aarhus exhibitions from 2009 – 2015 which were as popular as the Sydney and Perth exhibitions attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors over four weeks.
It was during these years that 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 across 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 Collection as a gift to the people of the Snowy Valleys to help bring joy, as well as cultural and economic benefits to the region.
In keeping with Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary’s role 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 2,246 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.
Hanne Bache, President of the Friendship Society of Denmark, Australia and New Zealand, said, “Keld Moseholm’s sculpture ‘Together We Are Strong’ is a symbol of what the Friendship Society is about. For more than 50 years we strived to strengthen the bonds between the three countries with art and culture exchange as one of our key focus areas. 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. We are so grateful to David Handley for fostering the idea of a Friendship Society Sculpture Collection and for his work and enthusiasm, and to the Snowy Valleys community for so warmly embracing the idea. May the sculpture trail help Snowy Valleys through the healing process and bring a prosperous future.”
David Handley, Sculpture by the Sea Founding CEO & Artistic Director, said, “The generous gift of these three sculptures celebrates and continues the two-decades-long 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. We have been humbled and honoured to facilitate this gift and at 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 over 550 students at nine schools across the Snowy Valleys since late 2020 participate in artist-led sculpture making workshops, 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 first-hand understanding of sculpture and to meet artists from around the world. 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.
The Friendship Society of Australia, New Zealand and Denmark Collection is located in Tumbarumba’s Goldfields Park and Creekscape. Further details of the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail will be announced ahead of the official opening of the trail in 2022.
Watch interviews with each of the exhibiting artists, and a message from the President of the Friendship Society of Denmark, Australia and New Zealand.