New sculpture unites traditional knowledge and modern science in southern Western Australia
A one-of-a-kind sculpture that unites traditional knowledge with modern science has been unveiled in the Great South region of Western Australia.
The Genestream sculpture was installed in the Twin Creeks Community Conservation Reserve, just north of the Porongurup Range.
The 3.5-meter-tall Evolutionary Tree is a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and conservation groups.
Menang’s eldest, Carol Petterson – one of the driving figures of the project – said the work was a fitting tribute to her people ‘s deep connection to the land.
“It makes me very humble because now people are listening to our stories, people are enjoying our stories,” she said.
“I’m 80 years old and I want my grandchildren to know that our First Nations people walked this land with purpose, in harmony with nature.
The sculpture tells the story behind the landscape
The sculpture is part of an effort to attract visitors to Plantagenet County and is part of the new Heartland Journeys trail developed by Gondwana Link.
The organization’s chief executive, Keith Bradby, said he would introduce visitors to the rich biodiversity of the Deep South and the extensive land restoration and protection work underway.
“We want these visitors to see our home as more than just decor,” he said.
“We want to let them know about the deeper story, we want sculptures like this to excite them and we want to create a greater respect in the community for the very special part of the world that this is.”
The sculpture seeks to represent the stories of important plants and wildlife in the region, juxtaposed with the deep history of the region.
It was designed by artist Ben Beeton and produced by Torbay artist Mark Hewson, with further contributions from Walpole tour guide Gary Muir and science illustrator Mali Moir.
Plans for linking old song lines
Mr Beeton said he was happy to see that the sculpture has sparked community interest in preserving ecological and heritage values.
“When you step into this sculpture you represent humanity… there is this sense of responsibility, this sense of heritage and – as indigenous peoples will tell you – this stewardship of the land,” he said. .
It is hoped that the sculpture will be the first of more than 100 works of art linking ancient song lines across Australia.
Ms Petterson said another sculpture was on order for the city on the south coast of Denmark and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions wanted to locate one in the newly redeveloped William Bay National Park.