17 November 2023

New art trail sculpture tells tale of whale trails along Illawarra coast

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Artist Carla Gottgens with her whale tail sculpture.

Artist Carla Gottgens with one of her whale tail sculptures. Photos: Shellharbour Council.

A sculpture celebrating the annual humpback whale migration is the latest addition to the intriguing Lake Illawarra Art Trail.

Created by multi-disciplinary artist Carla Gottgens and titled Long Distance, the piece comprises two whales’ tails. It’s located next to the recently completed beachside play space in Bardsley Park, Shellharbour.

Carla said her sculpture encouraged interaction, discovery, playfulness and exploration.

Long Distance shows the playful tail positions so often captured in photographs,” she 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.”

One of the new whale tail sculptures.

The second stunning whale tail sculpture.

The Art Trail along Reddall Reserve offers an insight into local history, Aboriginal heritage, flora and fauna. The artworks were created by local artists in collaboration with the community in response to the lake, its history and its people.

Other pieces include Burra Burra, unveiled during Reconciliation Week. It’s based on a local Dreaming story that tells of the creation of Windang Island and how the Cultural Custodians came to be in the Illawarra.

Another artwork, Synergy, is made from more than 3000 recycled metal objects. Designed and fabricated by metal artist Kane Minogue, it’s inspired by life on Lake Illawarra for the Wadi Wadi people, the original inhabitants and traditional custodians of the lake and surrounding areas.

READ ALSO Whale sculpture tells story of Dharawal people’s cultural connection to Windang Island

Shellharbour City Mayor Chris Homer said Carla’s sculpture was a wonderful addition to the city’s growing public art collection.

“Ms Gottgens has done an amazing job capturing the beauty of the humpback whale migration off our coastline,” he said.

“Seeing these majestic creatures frolic as they make their journey each year is such a joyful, awe-inspiring experience.”

The Lake Illawarra Art Trail, along with heritage trails around the area, can be found on the Tread Shellharbour app, which is available from the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

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