Citizens Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef artwork unveiled
The artwork, titled Citizens Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, is a symbol for Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, a social movement to engage the world in the future of the World Heritage area.
Cairns Indigenous artist Brian Robinson took inspiration from his own indigenous heritage to create the artwork.
“The stingray is my family totem from my mother’s people, the Wuthathi from Shelburne Bay,” he said. “Adding to its aesthetics are marks drawing on the carving traditions of the Torres Strait, the distinctive graphic style with origins in Melanesian artistry, in the rhythmical forms of pattern and dance.
“Stingrays capture the spirit of the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef as they glide over the Reef without touching the coral, just as humankind should not touch the Reef.
“Six local Aboriginal artists from the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji people and the Yirrganydji people have created stingray designs which are sandblasted into the ground plane of the artwork to convey the unique cultural life and expression of Tropical North Queensland and the significance of the Reef and oceans to these people.”
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the artwork will add to the visitor experience along the Cairns Esplanade.
“Our city has an intimate connection with the Great Barrier Reef and the Gateway sculpture celebrates this,” he said. “The lagoon’s woven fish sculptures – also designed by Brian Robinson – have become one of our most loved and recognisable features. This new piece brings another spectacular photo opportunity to our amazing foreshore.”
Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Pip Close said the a 6 metre-high artwork reflects the biodiversity of the Reef.
“Framing the view to the Reef from the Cairns Esplanade, the Citizens Gateway will inspire those who walk beneath it and see their reflection in its mirror-polish stainless steel to think about their connection to the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.