Spectacular gateway artwork unveiled

26 February 2015

One of Australia's most respected public artists has unveiled a major artwork at the East Street exit off the Hume Highway in Albury.

Internationally acclaimed artist, Warren Langley, has taken inspiration from the endangered crimson spider orchids of Nail Can Hill to create an eight metre sculpture using steel and intercepted light.

"Warren is one of the world's leading public artists and to have one of his pieces on display in our city is a huge statement," AlburyCity Mayor, Kevin Mack, said. "East Street is a high profile location along the Hume Freeway and with the interstate rail line, is a major gateway to the city. We wanted to create a piece that would have a strong visual presence while being uniquely 'Albury'."

"Albury is a regional growth centre and is an arts and cultural destination. Our new art museum is only months away and pieces like this are the perfect complement. We recognise that cities can be created and given value through the integration of art, design, architecture and cultural elements. Work like this gives us a sense of pride and identity."

Cr Mack says Council's 2010-2020 Urban and Public Art Strategy identified city entrances or gateways as critical to creating a 'sense of place' and positive impression about the city. He says the $80K artwork has been funded from the Special Variation to Rates, which was adopted following extensive community consultation.

"So far this financial year, we've attracted $463K in grant funding to install $637K worth of public art around the city. Some of the statement pieces include the anti-graffiti panels at the freeway pedestrian bridges and the popular bronze owl outside the Lavington Library. A more recent example is the Yindyamarra Sculpture walk which is gaining national media attention as a unique visitor experience. AlburyCity received $250K from the Tourism Industry Development Fund."

"The link to our endangered crimson spider orchids makes this artwork a particularly relevant piece. It will be a strong identifier for our city and a marker for people that they have arrived in a place that has a vibrant cultural scene."

Langley has been a working public artist for more than 30 years. His work includes major public art and exhibition pieces in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Asia and Europe. His permanent public artwork includes pieces at the ANZAC War Memorial in Sydney, the Winter Olympic Village in Vancouver, Brisbane Airport, Parliament House in Canberra and the Museum of New Zealand.

The artwork, titled Growth, is made from vandal resistant and low maintenance materials.