The beloved wooden sculptures at Greensborough War Memorial Park, which have come to the end of their life, will be farewelled by the community in a ceremonial fire from 6pm-10pm on Saturday 9 September.
Mayor of Banyule Cr Tom Melican said the wooden sculptures, created in 2003 by chainsaw sculptor Leigh Conkie, were inspired by wartime characters and crafted from cypress tree stumps.
“Sadly, being made from tree stumps, these sculptures which were exposed to the elements have come to the end of their life and to respectfully honour their passing we are holding a ceremonial sculptural fire being created by Eltham artist Macgregor Knox,” Cr Melican said.
“The fire will return the wood to the ground from which a new sculpture project – Homefront – will arise to acknowledge and celebrate the resilience of service men and women, and their families and communities, as they rebuild their lives and relationships when they return home.”
Cr Melican said Leigh Conkie was very much involved in the project; involved in both removing and honouring his sculptures via the ceremonial fire, and contributing, along with the community, war veterans and other artists to potential designs for new sculptures. Designer Amanda Gibson, who worked on the Black Saturday Tree Project, is leading the Homefront project, working alongside Leigh Conkie and blacksmith Roland Dannenhauer, one of the lead blacksmiths on the Black Saturday sculptural stainless steel and copper gum tree.
“Over the years, Leigh’s sculptures - objects of beauty and symbolism - have provided a gathering place and a place of quiet reflection,” he said.
“They are going to be a hard act to follow and community consultation is integral to the Homefront project. Consultation with Leigh, other artists, veterans and the community also helped us develop this respectful way, reminiscent of a cremation, to farewell the former sculptures.”
The Ceremonial Fire will also create an opportunity to bring veterans together with the broader community – to share their stories and raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder among the veteran community.
Homefront Ceremonial Fire
- 6pm-10pm, Saturday 9 September, Greensborough War Memorial Park
- Food, entertainment and opportunities to talk to artists involve in the Homefront project to create potential designs for new sculptures
- Visit the artists’ site