Citizens Gateway to Great Barrier Reef artwork unveiled on Cairns foreshore
A spectacular new public artwork, Citizens Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, was unveiled recently on the Cairns foreshore. Created by Cairns Indigenous artist Brian Robinson, the 6m high and 11m wide helix depicts a wave of marine creatures led by a life-size stingray, reflecting the diversity of the reef. The polished silver sculpture with its mirror-like finish frames the view of the Coral Sea from the landscaped park lands of the Cairns Esplanade.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the artwork would become an iconic landmark in Cairns, adding to the visitor experience along the Cairns Esplanade, which is enjoyed by more than 1.2 million people every year.
“Our city has an intimate connection with the Great Barrier Reef and the Gateway sculpture celebrates this,” Cr Manning said. “The Cairns 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.”
Mr Robinson said the Citizens Gateway reflected his Indigenous heritage demonstrating the Great Barrier Reef’s connection to the culture of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“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.
Queensland Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Queensland Government is a proud supporter of the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef.
“The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most important natural treasures and I congratulate sculptor Brian Robinson on creating a powerful representation of its beauty and ecological diversity.
Citizens Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef is a significant artwork that adds to the excitement and vibrancy of Cairns as a centre for regional arts and cultural tourism. It also celebrates Cairns’ reputation as a world-renowned launching point to the wonders of the Reef and an international destination. “
“My Government is proud to be a funding partner in the Citizens Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef sculpture project as part of our commitment to protecting the Reef for current and future generations.”
The Citizens Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef will act as a window to showcase the world’s best-managed reef by capturing the imagination of people around the world and engaging with those who visit this World Heritage listed icon.
Join the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and visit the Cairns Esplanade to view this new work of art.