By Melissa Blewitt
An artwork titled, ‘Bird in Hand’ is the latest installation to be unveiled along the Sculpture Down the Lachlan (SDL) trail.
Lachlan Shire Council representatives were on hand at the unveiling on Wednesday, 24 March.
The 6.5 metre, 3.5 tonne hyper-realistic hand cradling a great white egret was made from 1,600 meters of 10 millimetre, 316 marine grade, stainless steel chain, with 38 links per meter and four welds per link, which equals 243,000 welds.
‘Bird in Hand’ was created by Gold Coast sculptor Michael ‘Mike’ Van Dam represents the profound responsibility of environmental preservation, sustainability and development bestowed upon humans.
“This sculpture reminds viewers that we need to preserve and protect this important environment and its future state, such as native birds and all fauna, are in our hands,” he explained.
‘Bird in Hand’, is located at Straneys Bridge on the corner of Lachlan Valley Way and Hodges Road, 37 kilometres from Forbes towards Condobolin.
It is the third sculpture to be commissioned as part of the ‘Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project’ and becomes the 14th sculpture featured along the SDL trail from Forbes to Condobolin.
“Like much of Mike’s other work, ‘Bird in the Hand’ sends a strong message about responsible conservation of our natural environment,” Chair of the Forbes Arts Society (FAS) Dr Karen Ritchie stated.
“Positioning this beautiful sculpture in nature as part of SDL enhances this message and supports the values of FAS to celebrate and showcase our unique natural environment through art and culture.”
The ‘Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project’ is proudly funded by the NSW Government’s Restart NSW program through the Regional Growth, Environment and Tourism Development Fund, the Forbes Arts Society, Forbes Shire Council, Lachlan Shire Council and Evolution Mining.
The project aims to foster visual arts throughout the Forbes Shire, grow the visitor economy and promote the Lachlan Valley region as a premier tourism destination.
NSW Upper House MP Sam Farraway said the sculpture will provide yet another reason for tourists to flock to the Lachlan Valley.
“This sculpture is the latest instalment of a series of artistic incentives for visitors to return to the region, putting valuable tourism dollars into the pockets of locals and putting Lachlan Valley on the map as a world-class tourism destination,” he advised.
“The NSW Nationals are building a safer, stronger regional NSW and this sculpture project is a prime example of the way we are providing community infrastructure that creates jobs and encourages artistic expression.”
The $7 million ‘Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project’ also includes the construction of a new cultural and arts centre on the corner of Lachlan and Church Street (former Forbes and District Ambulance Station) and the Gum Swamp redevelopment.