Of all the Australian natives in the Wollongong Botanic Gardens, it's the rare, intricate banksia which sits on the Fig Lawn that is stealing all the attention - because it's a sculpture, an award-winning sculpture.
Deborah Redwood is now $30,000 richer after her Banskia artwork won the 2023 Sculpture in the Garden exhibition.
Banksia was created by clusters of ground-down nails welded together, which can be melted down and recycled.
The local artist said welding thousands of nails over months is "a very long exhausting and frustrating process".
The Acquisitive Sculpture Award winner received $30,000 funded through Wollongong City Council's public art budget.
The judges were in high-praise of the metal work at the announcement on Thursday, March 23.
The North Wollongong local artist lives just around the corner from the gardens, where the artwork will be permanently displayed- as part of the city's public art collection.
"I've always loved the banksia, just the fragrance and the fact that it just opens those seeds up after bushfires it's just an amazing plant,"Ms Redwood said.
"My sculpture aims to draw attention to this incredibly, final transformational process, from a flower to seed release. This large-scale Banksia cone draws people's attention to the beauty, complexity and importance of the cones scattered throughout the Garden.''
For Wollongong City Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Tania Brown the artwork reminds her of her childhood, the stories from renowned Australian author May Gibbs Snugglepot and Cuddlepie characters.
The Deputy Lord Mayor explains the funding is especially important for local artists.
"It gives something for the artist to work towards. It's not a lucrative business, so having a prize like this is very important for those local artists and encourages them to keep continuing," Cr Brown said.
"Great [local] representation from our artistic community and isn't it wonderful to have a local woman win."
For award-winning artist Deborah Redwood, having her artwork and name on display in the gardens is significant.
"You see a lot of work on permanent display that's by famous name artists and it's nice to have the opportunity if you're not a famous name artist to have something on display," Deborah Redwood said.
This is the fourth time the Sculpture in the Garden exhibition has been hosted by Wollongong with 22 artworks currently on display. The judges also recognised Selby Ginn for The Monolith of Contemplation and Camie Lyons for The Bush Custodians as highly commended artworks.
International, Australian and local artists submitted their work which are currently on display at the Wollongong Botanic Gardens till April 30. Free events and activities will be held during this time and the opportunity to vote for the People's Choice Award.
Finalists for sculpture prize are:
Camie Lyons, Bryn Jones (New Zealand), Danny Ivanovski, Janine Bailey, Juliane Brandt, Selby Ginn, Victoria Monk, Greer Taylor, Anthony Battaglia, Gary Christian, Anna and Michael Rofka (Germany), Tegan Georgette Russell, Ben Allen and Erin Arthur, Susan Reddrop, James Rogers, John Fitzmaurice, Michael Ferris, Malvika Satelkar, Katherine Castillo Alferez, Alice Nixon, Scott Marr, Saskia Everingham, Kirli Saunders, and Robyn Rumpf.
The 2023 Sculpture in the Garden winner is now home among the gumtrees in the Botanic Gardens.
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