Wave-like’ sculpture symbolising Australian stories of migration to be built in Canberra

skilled migration australia

Wave-like’ sculpture symbolising Australian stories of migration to be built in Canberra

An undulating sculpture reminiscent of waves on the ocean will be built in Canberra, after winning a national design competition calling for entries telling Australia's story of immigration
March 25, 2015 An undulating public artwork reminiscent of waves on the ocean will be built in Canberra, after winning a national design competition that called for entries telling Australia's story of immigration. The Immigration Place design competition was won by Melbourne artist Callum Morton and a team of design professionals and experts from across the country. The competition jury said in the context of the Australia's migration experience, the winning design "evokes the oceans that were crossed, the emotional ups and downs of this transformative experience, the ripples of change that travel down the generations, and the Australian landscape".

Mr Morton said his team's design aimed to tell story the story of a country built on migration, from the arrival of Australia's Indigenous people thousands of years ago right up until now.

"We wanted to try and do something that captured the whole story of migration, from its earliest form … right through to now, with the refuge crisis and asylum seekers," he said.

"All these forms of migration need to be captured in something like this."

Mr Morton said the design also aimed to encompass various beliefs held by Australia's traditional owners, about how the country's Indigenous people came to inhabit the country before the British.

"Some in the Indigenous community believe that they came across the [land] bridge 40,000 years ago, so that is story of migration as well," he said.

"Of course not all Indigenous people believe that."

Wave design reflects complex story: Morton

Mr Morton said there were so many different stories that made up the whole history of Australian migration; they could not be couched into one homogenised picture.

He said his team's design aimed to be complex enough to try and incorporate each different story.

"Our design takes the form of a sine wave," he said.

"The sine wave in a way captures this idea of the waves of migration and the turbulence of the ocean. But it's also something of a cloud," he said.

"It rolls up and down. It's layers of thin steel stacked on top of each other, with different spaces … creating these worlds inside."

Mr Morton is a fine arts academic at Monash University in Melbourne, who has created a number of high-profile public artworks during the course of his career.

However he said the Immigration Place project was largest public art project he had ever undertaken.

"And it is the first time I've ever worked with a big team of people, so it's really exciting to form a team that all bring very specific skills to it," he said.

The other team members who worked on the artwork were curator Charlotte Day, urban designer and landscape architect Bob Earl, architect Nigel Bertram, academics Daniella Trimboli and Nikos Papstergiadis, Ngambri custodian Paul House, Monash Art Projects' Andre Bonnice and engineer Peter Felicetti.

The design competition jury comprised of internationally recognised design professionals and was chaired by eminent architect Kerry Clare.

It was organised by not-for-profit organisation Immigration Place Australia, largely funded by public donations.

The structure will be built outside the National Archives of Australia in Parkes, near the juncture of Kings Avenue and National Circuit, with the help of Mr Morton's team of experts.

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