The two sculptural pieces, which incorporate cast concrete, glass and fibre-optics, are the work of Australian sculptor Warren
The two sculptural pieces, which incorporate cast concrete, glass and fibre-optics, are the work of Australian sculptor Warren

Is Coffs? image lost in gateway?

By BIANCA CLARE

THEY'LL cost around $100,000 on completion and have been described by locals as giant pineapples, dirty brown dinosaur eggs and modern masterpieces.

But what exactly do these two 4.5 metre terracotta-coloured sculptures, the new artistic CBD gateway statements, say about Coffs Harbour?

And are they really worth the price of a luxury imported car?

The two sculptural pieces, which incorporate cast concrete, glass and fibre-optics, are the work of Australian sculptor Warren Langley, who is known for his work with glass and light.

The previous Coffs Harbour City Council selected Mr Langley's work from a number of submissions in 2003, which also included work depicting thongs and surfboards.

Warren Langley said he created the two works ? one of which has already been defaced by graffiti ? to address the theme of land and water meeting the sea ? although not in a way which was too literal.

"I wanted to keep the image fairly simple." he said.

"Earth colours were very important to me in representing the land.

"They're just meant to signal a point of entry."

The general manager of Coffs Harbour City Council Steve Sawtell yesterday said that public art was rarely viewed favourably by everyone.

And it seems he is right.

Woolgoolga resident David Dodsworth said the two works said nothing about Coffs Harbour's history or culture.

"They're a waste of ratepayers' money," he said.

"I just don't understand what they're meant to say to our visitors."

One local artist, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he had to question the artist's colour choice.

"It was a big deal for Coffs Harbour to have Warren Langley designing these gateway statements and when you look at his other works it just doesn't add up," he said.

Another local artist, who also wished not to be named, agreed.

The interim director of the Bunker Cartoon Gallery, Shellie Kelly, said she thought the two works represented Coffs Harbour well.

"I think they're very noble," she said.

"They stand tall and proud."

The southern gateway statement is on the corner of Grafton and Combine streets and the northern statement is on the corner of Coffs and Grafton streets near the Coffs Ex-Services Club building.

The Coffs Harbour City Council received a $10,000 grant from the NSW Ministry for the Arts towards the commissioning of the two gateway statements in 2002.

What do you think? Are they worth $100,000? What do they say about Coffs Harbour? Would you have preferred to see something else and if so what? Email advo- cate@coffscoastadvocate.com.au



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