Swing bridge at KI Sculpture Trail officially opened | PHOTOS

The new swing bridge at the Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail at Penneshaw was officially opened with a community celebration on Sunday, May 19.

Hartley and Bev Willson were given the honours of cutting the ribbon to officially open the suspension-style bridge.

Mrs Wilson spoke about how the the area of the sculpture trail was not used much other than for the local kids to play in.

The ravine was formed in 1910, a very wet year when a flood washed away the sand, creating the gully that the bridge now spans.

KI Sculpture Trail committee chairperson Jayne Bates welcomed all those in attendance, although a thunderstorm passing by briefly interrupted proceedings.

She started proceedings by paying respect to Penneshaw resident Graham Trethewey, who died the day before in Kingscote and who was very involved in the community.

She said the sculpture trail and now the bridge had very much been a community effort.

"I could not be prouder of Penneshaw, the people standing here and their resilience, determination and hard work," Mrs Bates said. "The volunteer effort has been astronomical."

She also thanked the KI Council, Federal Member Rebekha Sharkie, State Government, Penneshaw Progress Association and local business, all of which had helped.

She singled out four individuals, firstly bridge designer Geoff Wallbridge from Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec and builder Kim Harrold from Harrold & Kite, which oversaw construction.

Mr Harrold just happens to Mrs Bates brother. Workers from Harrold & Kite's stairway project at Prospect Hill also were involved.

Then she paid to trubute to local volunteers Ashleigh Bates and Les Field, who had basically "lived" on site during bridge construction.

State Member for Finniss David Basham attended, representing the Premier, who noted the $150,000 Fund My Neighbourhood grant from the State Government was "insignificant" compared to the amount of community and volunteer work that had gone into the project.

State Member for Mawson Leon Bignell and Deputy Leader of the Opposition Dr Susan Close also attended.

KICE Penneshaw students tested out the new swing bridge when they visited the KI Sculpture Trail earlier in the week when they installed their sculptures made from recycled materials.

Some of the students and their teacher Elyssa Kreher were on hand for the official launch on Sunday.

The sculpture trail commitee has also created a special area for the KICE Penneshaw Campus students to have an ongoing sculpture concept going into the trail.

The kids completed sculptures of bees, snakes, blue wrens and goannas made of recycled wire and other material, which were installed in time for the swing bridge opening party.

One of the six recently announced artists commissioned for work on the trail is US sculptor Ken Law from Texas, the father-in-law of committee member Sarah Strong-Law.

Mr Law completed his recycled-metal boobook owl sculpture in time for the official bridge opening and was able to show visitors his completed work, sitting on the branch of a tree.

"Congratulations to the community and thank-you," Mr Law said. "We just don't have enough art in our life. Art makes you stop and reflect."

Six sculpture ideas approved

The first round of artist submissions for installing work into the Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail has lead to six approved concepts.

The KI Sculpture Trail Art Acquisition Panel would like to thank every artist who participated.

The talent pool was outstanding and made for a very difficult assessment process. It is with great pleasure that we introduce the sculptors who have been selected to create pieces for the trail:

Vic Waclawik (Goolwa, SA) will be creating a metal Kangaroo Island Endangered Orchid Garden. Vic combines artistic metalwork, interactive fire sculptures and surprising light projections into a compelling installation practice. He graduated from the Adelaide Centre for the Arts with a Bachelor in Visual Art and Applied Design in 2012 and in 2013 was the recipient of a Helpmann Academy Grant to travel to San Francisco and conduct an internship with the Flaming Lotus Girls, a female-led artists' collective that creates large scale interactive fire sculptures. Vic has presented works in some of Australia's most notable art shows including Sculpture By The Sea, Bondi and the SA Museum Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize. He has installed artworks in such high profile public spaces as Victoria Square, in the heart of Adelaide, the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and the World Heritage listed Mungo National Park in NSW. In addition to his art, Vic also has a remarkable life story that has seen him building wells in the remote Guatemalan jungle, releasing weather balloons in Antarctica and mapping the geology of Lake Eyre in central Australia. Vic is currently working in a remote aboriginal community in the APY Lands.

Greg Johns will be creating a piece inspired by native South Australian Grasses. Greg has been working as a full-time sculptor for 42 years, completing major commissions in Australia and internationally, as well as exhibiting annually in solo and major group shows in Australia, New York, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. In 2001 he set up an independent sculpture and environmental landscape at Palmer. In 2012 he was the recipient of the McClelland Museum Sculpture. A second major monograph, written by John Neylon, "Edge Of Time" was published in 2015. Major commissions were completed in Melbourne, "Dual Column (Vortex)" 2015, "From The Centre - To The Centre", 2016, "Landlines" Gawler Entrance, 2017.

Nicholas Uhlmann will be creating a sculpture inspired by the White Bellied Sea Eagle. Nicholas is an established South Australian based sculptor who has developed a unique and dynamic signature language over the last twenty years. Having exhibited widely throughout Australia and abroad, including the production of major public sculpture installations, his work displays a high level of professionalism and creative integrity. Significant projects within the public realm include the recently completed 'TreeFlower' sculpture installation, consisting of five large-scale outdoor works for the New Royal Adelaide Hospital. He completed the sculpture installation 'Play, Rest, Observe' upon Housing SA's new UNO Apartments building on Waymouth St. Nicholas has received many outstanding awards throughout the years across Australia and the UK.

Indiana James will be creating a sculpture based on the Anomalocaris Briggsi (a 515-million-year-old extinct sea creature unique to the fossil dig at Emu Bay on Kangaroo Island). Indiana James has worked on Kangaroo Island as a 'found-object' sculptor since 1994 and has completed many monumental public works, including one public at Penneshaw, one at Wallaroo and three sculptures on the Adelaide foreshore. His life sized kangaroo sculpture is currently touring South Australia with Country Arts SA's 'Island to Inland' exhibition. He has developed and conducted two sculpture residencies at the South Australian Museum and has presented with museum staff several times as a member of SAM's 'Road Show' program. From 2000-2006 James served on the Central Region Board for Country Arts SA.

Ken Law will be creating a Boobook Owl Sculpture. Ken is a sculptor, lawyer and judge in Texas, United States of America. Ken discovered his artistic sculpture talent late in life. In 2008, he took his first art welding and metal sculpting courses from Austin Community College where he pursued a Certificate in Art Welding. He creates his sculptures from a variety of found objects. Ken serves on the Texas Society of Sculptors and exhibits regularly in Texas galleries. Most of Ken's work is through private commissions.

Mark Russell will be creating a Little Penguin Sculpture. Mark is a sculptor who has made Kangaroo Island his home. He has been working with metal for many years as he is a trained fitter and turner as well as owning his own Saw Doctoring/Sharpening business for many years. Two of his sculptures received "People's Choice" awards at the 2018 Penneshaw Easter Art Exhibition.

"These inspired sculptures are going to add to the natural beauty and delightful journey around the Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail," KIST committee member Sarah Strong-Law said.

"The committee is very thankful to the patrons who have contributed to funding these sculptures. However, it is yet to meet its funding target to bring all six of these sculptures into the trail.

"Therefore, the committee is urging anyone to consider becoming a Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail Patron or Trailblazer."

The KIST committee has a Trailblazer program that starts at $20 or a Patron Program that caters to the $1000 to $10,000 levels.

Visit www.kangarooislandsculpturetrail.com to learn more or contact the team on kisculturetrail@hotmail.com