Narellan Community Mosaic Project 2005
Walking from the Narellan Library carpark to Elyard Street along the paths next to the creek, you will pass one of Narellan’s public art installations – the Narellan Community Mosaic Project.
Public art installations in Narellan have received little attention and are hidden in plain sight. Other public art installations in the Narellan area include the Cowpastures Story, a mosaic bench, and a Goanna on the loose,
The Narellan Community Mosaic Project art installation is easy to miss as it blends in with the lawn and park landscape of Elyard Reserve. Maybe that was the intention of the artists. The work was commissioned by Camden Council through funding from the New South Wales Department of Planning.
The art installation uses mosaic tiles to represent the area’s past and present. The artwork adds to the character and placemaking of the Narellan Library Civic Space on Elyard Street, Narellan.
The installation is a series of concentric rings using storytelling to tell the Narellan story. The story starts at the centre with Indigenous Australians. As you move out from the centre, the artwork is a timeline through history, representing the present in the outer rings.
The centre of the artwork has stylised figures representing First Australian’s art, the oldest art on the continent, around a five-pointed star, possibly a metaphor for the Southern Cross from the southern skies. This section contains stylised stick figures representing activities from the past and present – a mother walking her dog, shopping, gardening, and mowing the grass, a BBQ, and more traditional Indigenous figures.
Moving outwards from the centre, there are representations of European settlement patterns crisscrossed by roadways. Here the ring is divided into different periods from the colonial settler society past to the present.
These inner rings are encircled by a further round of local places of significance in the Narellan area. They include Harrington Park House, Narellan Railway Station, Struggletown, Burton Arms Inn (1830), St Thomas Church (1861), St Thomas Chapel, Ben Linden and Bullock teams.
The outer ring of mosaic tiles is divided into segments celebrating agriculture, cultural activities, flora and fauna, and a wayfinding activity. The edge of the artwork is tiled with details of local children who contributed to its creation and design.
In the outer area of the artwork are three metal benches supported by metaphorical books representing the site as a place of learning for the community. The seating is a popular spot for some to have their lunch break during their busy day, have a break and take in the bookish environment.
The contributing artists to the installation all have a strong track record and are well respected in their fields.
Project Co-ordination -Marla Guppy from Guppy & Associates
Marla’s biography on her website states:
Marla Guppy is a cultural planner and public art strategist. Over the last twenty years she has worked on a range of projects that explore social environments and identity. She has a particular interest in fostering creative involvement in the design of local environments and public buildings. She has considerable experience in working with specific communities of interest and has worked collaboratively with corporate and community organisations and creative industries.
Project artist – Cynthia Turner
Turner’s biography on the Design & Art Australia website states that Cynthia started working on mosaics when Kids Activities Newtown asked her to work on a mosaic at the Enmore Swimming Pool after seeing a mosaic-covered seat in her garden.
This would turn out to be the start of a successful career as a public artist specialising in designing and making mosaic artworks for streetscapes, parks, community centres and schools. Turner’s artworks can be found in Sydney, Wollongong, Dubbo and Tasmania. Most are public artworks commissioned by local councils and can be seen in the form of public benches, mosaic walls and footpaths; they all feature mosaic surfaces. Turner has used a variety of materials in these mosaics, such as handmade tiles, broken ceramic tiles, sheeted glass tiles and cut stained glass.
Ceramic artist – Christine Yardley
Heritage artist – George Sayers
George Sayers worked as a commercial artist in Great Britain before he came to Australia in 1964. He works in most mediums: oil, watercolour, drawing, pastel and etching.
Sayers has taken an interest in the historic buildings and landscapes of the Cowpastures area and more contemporary scenes of the Camden area. He published Views of Camden and Surrounding Areas in 1996.
Henryk Topolnicki from Art is an Option
Working as a sculptor, Henryk created artworks based on his skills as an accomplished blacksmith, woodworker and welder.
The Art is an Option website states:
Private commissions and public artworks by Henryk have a distinctive level of delicate-often relating to natural forms such as insects or birds-requiring a very fine level of craftsmanship by the artist.
Art is an Option contributed to other artworks in the Narellan Library Civic Space in 2006 called the Cowpasture Story consisting of a ‘Sculptural Mobiles & Screen’ and jointly commissioned by Camden Council and Narellan Rotary Club.
Updated on 2 May 2023. Originally posted on 17 April 2023.
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