Fiona Foley develops 6 public Artworks for the Mackay Bluewater Quay

30 September, 2009

Mangrove Pod, Mackay Bluewater Quay, Fiona Foley

The Mackay Bluewater Trail is an initiative of the Mackay Regional Council, creating a 19km ‘ring of activity’ around the city centre. Inclusive of the major developments of Bluewater Lagoon and Bluewater Quay, the trail extends to sites such as the wetlands at the mouth of the Pioneer River, down to Far Beach and around to the Botanic Gardens. The trail endeavours to enhance visitor experiences of the city, highlighting natural, cultural and historic features through facilities, activities and the integration of artworks.

A significant component of the project is the inclusion of world-class public art designed by leading public artist Fiona Foley. In collaboration with Urban Art Projects, Foley has developed 6 landmark artworks for the Bluewater Quay development. Drawing heavily on the site’s historical, cultural and natural context, Foley’s approach to public art encourages viewers to see the landscape differently or expand on their understanding of the site. The artworks include stacks of Sugar Cubes with inscriptions referencing South Sea Islander labour in local cane farms, the word “YUWI” in large red letters-the name of the region’s indigenous people, and a 9.5m weathered steel Mangrove Pod, enlarging a tiny element of the surrounding natural environment.

Fiona recently commented on the mangrove pod’s connection with her youth in Hervey Bay and experiencing the artwork in its completed form for the first time saying “The mangrove is a habitat that I have fond memories of. While living at Booral, Hervey Bay, my extended family would go out on to the mud flats and ‘hunt and gather’ oysters, periwinkles and mud crabs. For me it was also a treasure trove of collecting flotsam and jetsam washed up from high tides. I’d bring home turtle bones, dugong bones and various parts of mangrove seed-pods.  I am not a deeply religious person but when I first stood under the mangrove cap, with Matt Tobin, I felt like I was in a church.”

The Bluewater Quay is not only a significant infrastructure investment for Mackay, it will also become a destination that fosters local identity and a major draw card for visitors to the region.

Mackay Mangrove Pod Launch Event at Urban Art Projects

Mackay Daily Mercury | Welcome to our art street

Mackay Daily Mercury | Red Letter Day for Urban Art Project

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