New public artwork captures Elsternwick Park’s history and natural beauty

The Elsternwick Park public art commission has been awarded to Bent Metal studio for Spirit of Place, a sculptural work inspired by the parkland’s flora and fauna.

With its tall iron reeds, Spirit of Place will be a local landmark and distinctive part of the park experience, encouraging social interaction and quiet reflection in park visitors who can experience the piece from an enclosed rippled iron bench.

The public artwork will be installed into the south-east corner of Elsternwick Park near the intersection of New and Head Streets in late 2020.

The artwork commemorates the park’s natural and social history through the names of events, people, flora and fauna stamped on its ironwork, and recognises the traditional owners of the land on which it sits, the Yalukit Willam clan of the Boon Wurrung.

Bent Metal’s master blacksmith, David Wood, explains: “Its form is drawn from the phragmite australis reeds which are within the park and indigenous to the local area. The artwork frames the landscape, changes colour with the seasons, and plays with light and shade.”

Many people may already be familiar with David’s impressive work, including for the map gate of the St Kilda Botanical Gardens.

Announcing the commission, Bayside Mayor Cnr Clarke Martin said: “Public art plays an important role in the character and identity of the Bayside municipality, and promotes our rich natural, cultural and urban heritage.

“We’re excited to announce this new public artwork following community consultation on developing the artist’s brief in September 2019.

“The immersive Spirit of Place artwork will become a Bayside cultural landmark and we hope that the community enjoy this artwork as they have ‘Summertime’ by Anne Ross in Brighton and the highly interactive ‘Bayside Ripple’ by Carla Gottgens at the Dacey Street Playground.”

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