Parkes is part of the Rhino trail, encouraging tourists to the Western Plains Zoo.
Elvis Rhino is position at the Henry Parkes Centre.
Now Forbes is about to embark on its own project.
The Forbes Sculpture Trail, ‘Somewhere Down the Lachlan’, will soon become a reality with Forbes being offered its very first sculpture by world-renowned sculptors Gillie and Marc.
The Australian artists have generously offered to loan Forbes their sculpture, ‘Pyramid’ (see below), for one year to kick-start the Sculpture Trail and Sculpture Forbes competition.
The idea is that the winner of the sculpture competition each year will be acquired by Forbes and form part of the Sculpture Trail.
The aim is to have sculptures all along Lake Forbes, eventually winding along the Lachlan River, and the Lachlan Valley to then link up with the Utes in the Paddock at Ootha.
The sculpture ‘Pyramid’ will be the first sculpture in this grand scheme.
Forbes Art Society hopes to display the sculpture at the Albion Park site, which they say will be a huge drawcard to the town.
The sculpture stands at 190cm high and is 160cm wide, and features Gillie and Marc’s signature Dogman and Rabbitgirl characters forming a human pyramid (see below).
Gillie and Marc have been working with the dog and rabbit theme for the last five to seven years, with their sculptures featured in towns and cities all around Australia.
The idea of this stems from ancient Egyptian times where in art, animals heads would be placed on human bodies.
“It was thought that by placing animal heads on human bodies, humans would adopt the personality traits of the animal, so the idea is to make the human a better person to ultimately better the human race,” Gillie said.
“The dog character began because the dog has such beautiful qualities – it’s loyal and shows beautiful love.
“We want to represent a kinder world, one that celebrates diversity and we look at the idea that what if the dog and rabbit are friends, rather than enemies.”
This is how the Dogman and Rabbitgirl series came about and the ‘Pyramid’ sculpture aims to represent diversity and a perfect balance of community and friendship and to show that all religion, colour or nationality are embraced, creating a melting pot of collaboration and friendship.
While this sculpture is a perfect example of contemporary public art, it is anticipated, by council and Forbes Art Society, that it will certainly create controversy in Forbes.
“There is no doubt that this style of public art is a progressive and appealing to the younger generations and those interested in contemporary art,” Forbes Shire Council’s director tourism, community and cultural development, Richard Morgan said.
“This is art that pushes the boundaries and is vitally important in developing the cultural life of Australian society.”
Mr Morgan said the idea is to draw people to Forbes with this sculpture, and the wider sculpture trail project.
“It has the potential to bring renewal and vitality to the cultural life of Forbes,” he said.
“It has the ‘wow’ factor, will cut through as a unique aspect of Forbes and be talked about for a long time and in many places – it will feature on the international arts stage.
“This piece of public art has great merit and is an ideal starting point for the sculpture trail and most importantly it will show Forbes in an interesting new light and signals a direction that Forbes has not seen before.”
The concept of a sculpture trail in Forbes originates from Rosie Johnston’s vision; she believes “from little things big things grow”, as the famous saying goes, and the Gillie and Marc sculpture is the ideal sculpture to make it happen.
Ms Johnston believes for the best impact, the sculpture should be located at Albion Park, although Lake Forbes has been suggested by council as an alternative site.
“It’s so ideal for it to be in the Albion site because it’s such a large scale, it needs a lot of space and needs to be viewed from a distance; it needs to be in the centre of town,” she said.
“The Albion was such a wonderful architectural piece and this will in some way be a tribute to it and each year it will be changing, with the winner of the Sculpture Forbes competition.
“It will become a dynamic arts precinct – a winner’s precinct.”
While placing the sculpture at the Albion Park site may become a talking point in town, key figures in the project recognise this is the whole point and will ultimately draw people to Forbes.
“Art has always had an impact,” Mr Morgan said.
“It [‘Pyramid’] is of a monumental scale and will cause tongues to wag and people to discuss it and that’s the great thing about it.
“But if we get this right, we’ll have art enthusiasts coming from all over to see this.
“These items will become the heritage of the future and in 50 years time people will say what great visions people had.”
Forbes Art Society president Keith Mullette, said the whole idea is for the benefit of Forbes.
“It’s good enough and different enough and interesting enough to cause people to stop and look which will be nothing but good for Forbes,” he said.
“There are numerous sculpture competitions in towns occurring around the nation, so what we do needs to differentiate ourselves from everyone else… and we are in the perfect location to do this on the Newell Highway – halfway between anywhere.”
And what do the artists say about the differences of opinion the sculpture could create?
“The main comeback we like to tell people that think its controversial is that one of the most famous sculptures in the world is of a three metre naked man, which was commissioned by the Catholic Church – it was actually the Pope that commissioned it,” Marc said.
“In response to the nakedness, it represents us in our most natural form – we all have these organs, we’re all the same,” Gillie said.
“We think it looks beautiful to show the natural form and if we were to put clothes on our figures, you lose the naturalness and organic feeling.”
For more information about Gillie and Marc’s other works, go to their website http://gillieandmarc.com.
What do you think about this sculpture being the start of our sculpture trail? To have your say, please write a letter to the editor, which will be published in the Advocate.