Enlighten for Equity Sculptures unveiled at Riverside Precinct
Published: 07 Jun 2022 1:24pm
The Governor of New South Wales Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC officially opened the Enlighten for Equity Sculptures at the Wagga Beach Riverside Precinct today (7 June 2022).
The Enlighten for Equity – Youth Led Participatory Industrial Design and Lighting Project was part of Wagga Wagga City Council’s delivery of the Wagga Women’s Health Centre partnership DVproject:2650 – a primary prevention initiative aiming to reduce domestic and family violence in the city of Wagga Wagga.
The five sculptures create an equity walk within the Wagga Beach Riverside Precinct, starting near the entrance to the main carpark and winding along the pathways to the new regionally significant playground and through the open spaces.
Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga Councillor Dallas Tout said he was delighted to have joined Her Excellency Margaret Beazley in officially unveiling the Enlighten for Equity Sculptures.
“It is wonderful to see this important collaborative project come to fruition,” Cr Tout said.
“Enlighten for Equity brought together creativity and education by working with primary and high school students from across Wagga Wagga.
“We had almost 850 primary school students and more than 100 high school students involved in creating these beautiful and moving sculptures.
“When you are walking through the Wagga Beach Riverside Precinct, I encourage you to stop and take a few minutes to look at each sculpture and reflect on the themes and messages they convey about the connection between community, equity and respect, and positive and respectful relationships.”
Council’s Equity team and artist in residence Juanita McLachlan engaged with students from 18 local primary schools, who developed posters reflecting what equity and respect meant to them and the Wagga Wagga community.
The primary school concepts were then given to design and technology students and teachers from five high schools who were tasked to transform the ideas into 3D mock-ups. One design was chosen from each high school; Kildare Catholic College, Shepherd’s Park School, Mount Austin High School, Wagga Wagga High School, and Mater Dei Catholic College.
Council managed the production and installation of the standalone lighted sculptures.
Director Community Janice Summerhayes said Enlighten for Equity was an important project for young people in our community.
“Through the DVproject:2650, young people have indicated to us how strongly they feel about addressing issues of domestic and family violence,” Ms Summerhayes said.
“These sculptures reflect their ideas on what positive relationships look like, how we respect each other at home and in the community..
“I really am pleased to see that these young people’s ideas have now come to life for everybody to enjoy and reflect on at Riverside for years to come.”
The Enlighten for Equity project was funded by NSW Government (Stronger Country Communities Round 3) in partnership with the overall DVproject:2650.
For more information, visit wagga.nsw.gov.au/equitysculptures
Equity Sculptures - Explanatory Notes from the schools
Kildare Catholic College students, 2022
Red gum, steel
“Our biggest challenge for this project was finding a connection between community and equity and respect and there it was right in front of us the whole time! Like a vein that pumps blood through our bodies for survival, so does the Murrumbidgee River - ‘Marrambidya’, connecting the Wiradjuri culture, a meeting place, source of life and engages so many people from our community. The design sits between two Red Gum pillars connecting it to the landscape and the natural environment. The Aboriginal symbol for water is also incorporated on the river design panel connecting the Wiradjuri people.”
Shepherd’s Park School students, 2022
Spotted gum, iron, stainless steel
“The sphere of respect at the top of the sculpture represents signifies ‘what goes around, comes around’ in term of respect and equity, and is a two-way street. The sphere also represents that domestic violence is a global issue with the hands signifying that respect and equity are within all our hands to uphold. The base signifies balance and equity within the scales of justice and the Wiradjuri meaning of respect, Yindyamarra, adorning the river red gum sides of the sculpture.”
Mater Dei Catholic College students, 2022
Red gum, steel, concrete
“With the modern world being more divided than ever, we believe it is crucial that people remember the need to respect and include others. We wanted people to respect their surroundings but also at the same time respect each other. This is why we have put seats in a circular arrangement into our design, inspired by the Indigenous symbol for meeting place, to create a place for people to sit down and rediscover the spirit of community. The word “Yindyamarra” is written along the top of the seats in our design. In Wiradjuri language, it means respect, gentleness and kindness.”
‘The Meeting Place’
Mount Austin High School students, 2022
Red gum, concrete
“In Aboriginal art, a meeting place is symbolised with circles and this was the basis for our design. It’s about bringing all cultures and beliefs together in a circle where everyone is equal. It is designed as an outdoor learning space where small groups can sit and “yarn” in a scenic and natural environment. The large totems that surround the bench seating, represent traditional Aboriginal totems carrying messages of equity and respect. As you enter the circle, the words Everyone Belongs are illuminated, carrying the message and overarching theme of our installation.”
Wagga Wagga High School students, 2022
Stainless steel, aluminium
“Equity and respect are two principles of life that are often overlooked. It was only while designing this piece that we found the true meaning of these words; safety, fairness, admiration, acceptance and the wellbeing of everyone. It was important to us to design our work around these words. By making the figures non-binary we believe we were able to succeed in that aspect; equal but different. Along with this, the figures hold hands and are level to each other which illustrates the ideal that no one is of lesser value. We also decided to represent all of society using the globe as our canvas, in hopes of showing how close we actually are as a race.”