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Arboretum art

Friday, 6th March, 2020

Sculptor Robbie Rowlands with one of his sculptures, ‘Diviner’ which is now located in the Riddiford Arboretum. PICTURE: Emily McInerney Sculptor Robbie Rowlands with one of his sculptures, ‘Diviner’ which is now located in the Riddiford Arboretum. PICTURE: Emily McInerney

By Emily McInerney

Two sculptures that were a year in the making have been installed at the Riddiford Arboretum.

Sculptor and photographer Robbie Rowlands has been travelling to and from the city for the past year to develop his sculptures.

Robbie created the two sculptural works for the Riddiford Arboretum, commissioned by City Council and funded through Create NSW.

The project combines nature’s forms and local mining heritage to interpret the significance of Australia’s first green belt, and the ground-breaking work of Albert Morris, the Barrier Field Naturalists’ Club, and the Zinc Corporation to green the city.

Although initially planning to construct three smaller sculptures, Robbie decided to create two larger sculptures.

‘Diviner’ is Robbie’s first sculpture which stands around six metres and was constructed from rock bolt splits from CBH’s mining operations.

Robbie said the sculpture was inspired by the plants and foliage found in the arboretum and the region.

He said it was a design that was to prompt the rain.

“The rain came earlier than anticipated,” he said.

The second sculpture, Nestle, spans four metres in diameter and is inspired by the natural form of curled bark that the arboretum’s trees produce.

“The sculpture will be constructed of recovered tension rods which were part of the CBH historic head tower, with an aim to find a way to allow the rods to be kept in original condition and structure,” he said.

“We’ve worked on these sculptures for the better part of a year.”

Robbie undertook this work with the support of TAFE NSW Broken Hill, who have facilitated the use of their metalwork facilities.

“All students were able to take part in the process and I had a number of young boilermakers helping, including Anthony Kelly.

“A lot of locals worked on the project, I would come up every three weeks to work on the project.

“From its inception through to the models - I did most of the work at TAFE.”

Robbie said the whole project was a great experience and he met many locals over his time here.

“The Arboretum Committee were very trusting of my process, we had a lot of conversations about future plans for the arboretum.

“I didn’t want to put my sculptures where they would get in the way.

“It was nice that they trusted me with that.

“There is a natural feel of where the sculptures are supposed to go.”

The sculptures were craned in by Lawrence Engineering yesterday morning.

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