A stunning new sculpture depicting the annual migration of humpback whales is the latest addition to the Lake Illawarra Art Trail, and accompanies a newly installed playground.
The striking piece titled "Long Distance", by artist Carla Gottgens, comprises of two whale tails and is hoped to encourage "interaction, discovery, playfulness and exploration" at the beachside play space in Bardsley Park in Shellharbour.
"Long Distance shows the playful tail positions so often captured in photographs," Ms Gottgens said.
"It features triangular panels, each displaying a photograph or illustration depicting the different seas the humpback whale passes through on its annual long-distance voyage.
"The photographic panels adorning the facets of each tail are a compilation of drone photos intermixed with illustrations and geometric imagery of sea swells and water movement."
The sculpture is nearby the new play space which includes a climbing frame, swings, an ocean-themed seesaw with accessible platform, a nature play trail, sheltered picnic tables, a bubbler/water station and dog bowl, plus balance beam and hopping logs.
Shellharbour Mayor Chris Homer said it was a wonderful addition to the city's growing public art collection.
"The Lake Illawarra Art Trail has become extremely popular with locals and visitors alike," he said.
The art trail, along with other heritage trails around the area, can be found on the Tread Shellharbour App, which is available from the App Store and Google Play Store.
All artworks on the trail have been created by local artists in collaboration with the community in response to the lake, it's history and it's people. Located at Reddall Reserve, Lake Illawarra, walk or cycle the trail.
Burri Burri (meaning whale in local Dharawal language) was the ninth sculpture commissioned for the Lake Illawarra Art Trail and created by former Shellharbour Woman of the Year Jodi Edwards, Gweagal Dharawal artist Theresa Ardler, sculptor Julie Squires and Dharawal visual artist Nicole Talbott.
The bronze whale features two large bronze coolamons, designed to be used as seats, and is based on Gang man gang - a local Dreaming story that tells of the creation of Windang Island and how the Cultural Custodians came to be in the Illawarra.
The giant metal sculpture uses a ring of four-metre high seaweed intertwined with marine life specific to Lake Illawarra all swimming in an upward circular direction.
This design element represents the circle of life within the lake, Synergy and a sense of community.
A family of metal prawns and a giant moon pay tribute to generations of fishermen and women who have trawled the lake for centuries for commerce and recreation.
Suspended in flight, the party of five sculpted from aluminium appear to jump right out of the water as they run under a dark tidal moon.
'Split' was featured at Sculptures at Killalea, and David was awarded the Aqualand Sculpture Prize award for his work, 'Orb' in the Sydney Sculpture by The Sea exhibition.
It's made from corten steel, representing a shape found in nature. The piece is an aesthetically dramatic framing of Windang Island.
The work illustrates the lakes rich cultural history, and its significance to all Shellharbour's people spanning thousands of years, since our first Aboriginal people walked its shores.
Each totem has a distinct character that defines an individual aspect of the lake; sanctuary, place, memory, imagination, freedom, weather and protection.
This artwork features deep relief carving of animal species found in and around Lake Illawarra. Fish, shellfish and birds documented by the Lake Illawarra Authority are depicted in the carving and include Snapper, Yellow Fin Bream, Mud Crab, Scallop, Little Tern and Shag.
It took 352 hours and 15 members of the Shellharbour Woodcarvers to carve this artwork.
Drawn from conversations with residents and children's artistic interpretations, the words and imagery in the artwork portray this significance and hope to preserve it for generations to come.
This artwork was inspired by leisure and recreational activities that take place beside the lake every day.
The artwork represents parts of two local Dreaming stories - Gang-Man-Gang (The Whale and the Starfish), the creation of Windang Island and Gurrangatty, the creation of Lake Illawarra.
The colours and materials used in this artwork are representative of the evergreen escarpment, rivers, streams, ocean and shoreline as well as the abundant food system. The shells used illustrate the middens by the lake's edge.
These concrete, mosaic and steel turtles are artistic representations of these local leatherback turtles, designed to encourage exploration, interaction and discovery through creative, imaginative play.
Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), are the largest sea turtle in the world, listed as critically endangered.
A dead leatherback turtle washed up on the Shellharbour shoreline in March 2015. It sadly died from ingesting a plastic bag and had been hit by a boat. A pair of leatherback turtles were seen swimming between Winding and Port Kembla beaches in February 2016.
*Descriptions as per Shellharbour Council's website.
People wanting to explore the art trail can download "Tread Shellharbour" app from the App Store or Google Play and take a virtual tour of the Lake Illawarra Art Trail, and read the stories behind the sculptures.
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