The Art on the Great Victorian Rail Trail Project was officially opened at an event at Trawool Estate on Friday 26 May ahead of a major tourism campaign planned for spring.
The project has seen seven large-scale artworks and a series of smaller works placed along the length of the 134km Great Victorian Rail Trail (GVRT).
The joint initiative between Murrindindi, Mansfield and Mitchell Shire Councils, aims to improve the rail trail experience by implementing innovative and impactful art installations to attract visitors to the trail and surrounding towns within the region.
The GVRT will also benefit from a series of new wayfinding and interpretive signs installed along the trail.
These signs will improve the visitor experience on the trail, sharing First Peoples stories and information and connecting people with sites along the trail.
We thank the Victorian Government’s Regional Tourism Investment Fund whose $1.2M grant covered the full cost of the artworks, their installation and the selection process.
For more information, visit the Great Victorian Rail Trail website.
Meet the artists
Donna Marcus is an Australian artist best known for her use of vast collections of discarded aluminium kitchenware. Constructed from discarded kitchen utensils – plastic and aluminium teapots, lids, jelly moulds, steamers, colanders, egg poachers and bottle-tops – her sculptures draw viewers into a world of kitchens both remembered and imagined. Marcus is engaged by the stories evoked by these objects, and by the familiarity they engender in many viewers. Their original uses are recalled and extended by the process of assemblage, as they are combined into the repetitive forms of modernist grids and spheres. The materials themselves generate another layer of reference, and further extend the modernist impulse to regularity, repetition, and dream. Marcus has exhibited extensively both within Australia and internationally, appearing in major sculpture survey and award exhibitions at institutions such as the Museum of Art and Design, New York, the National Gallery of Australia and the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Her work is held in numerous public and private collections, nationally and internationally, and has been the subject of several scholarly and journalistic publications. Marcus’ large-scale permanent public artworks include Poise and Grace (2019) Xiamen China, Plant (2018) Gasworks Brisbane, Vapour (2016) Zhengzhou China, Sponge (2016) Station Square Joondalup Western Australia, Propel (2015) Gladstone Airport Queensland, Trickle, (2009) 400 George St Brisbane, Delphinus (2009) KAUST Saudi Arabia, and Steam (2006) Brisbane Square, Brisbane. Donna Marcus holds an Adjunct position at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University and is exclusively represented by Gallery Sally Dan Cuthbert, Sydney https://gallerysallydancuthbert.com/
Yu Fang Chi is a Taiwan-born artist. Her practice involves repetitive fibre-related techniques which can be connected to traditional domestic art processes. She engaged intensive material-based practices, artistic research and curatorial projects to deftly investigate the role of femininity and its cultural connotations.
Yu Fang introspects the processes of weaving and the position of female body. She works across different facets of textile practice and collaborates with diverse artistic fields. Her research focuses on the development of textile, sculpture, installation, and contemporary jewellery in Asia-Pacific Region. Her recent curatorial project assembles narratives and gender studies with the potential to bring subjective encounters into wider social assignations.
Yu Fang Chi has exhibited extensively. Since 2008 her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at the International Handwerksmesse Munich, The Museum of Arts and Crafts ITAMI Japan, The Gallery of Art Legnica in Poland, Contemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Award at Castlemaine Art Museum, Beijing International Jewelry Art Biennial, World Art Museum and so on. Yu Fang Chi’s work is held in the collections of Gold Museum in Taiwan, Korea International Craft Biennale, and Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, France.
Christabel spent her early 20’s studying the Arts in New York City. An independent studio program at the Whitney museum of American art led her into creating sculpture.
At age 30 she returned to Australia settling in Somers on the Mornington peninsula. Since returning Wigley’s work has been greatly influenced by the natural environment and strongly influenced by her late father James Wigley who spent time working and painting with the indigenous peoples of North-western Australia.
Most recently Christabel was awarded a commission by McClelland, ISPT and Karingal Hub to create a public and immersive art piece called Sound Shell representing the origins of the land with a unique soundscape.
Wigley’s earlier works include the distinctively carved vertical forms where she took large cypress trunks and with minimal intervention incised apertures and slits, many can be found at numerous locations on the peninsula. Rosebud secondary college Queenscliff ferry terminal Elgee park and Montalto sculpture park where she has been a finalist 13 times and recipient of the major award for her work Fingers crossed. Sculpture by the sea Bondi NSW finalist 5 times
Wigley is represented in many private collections nationally and internationally
Born 1964, Sydney, New South Wales; lives and works in Melbourne. Louise Paramor received a Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) from Curtin University, Perth, in 1985 and in 1988 she completed a Postgraduate Diploma (Sculpture) at the Victorian College of the Arts.
Paramor is well known for her large-scale public art commissions, which often combine formal concerns with a pop-inspired sensibility. Commissions include Panorama Station, Peninsula Link Freeway, Melbourne (2012), and more recently, Transformer, Moreland Train Station, Coburg, Melbourne (2021).
Paramor has regularly exhibited her work nationally and internationally since 1988, and has been awarded several grants and international residencies including an Australia Council Fellowship at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 1999-2000.
In 2010 she won the prestigious McClelland Sculpture Survey and Award with her piece Top Shelf. Recently the National Gallery of Victoria commissioned the artist to create the installation Palace of the Republic (2017), a series of large scale paper sculptures that referenced her earlier artistic practice, in conjunction with a survey of her recent colourful plastic assemblages.
Paramor’s work is held in many collections including: Art Gallery of Western Australia; National Gallery of Victoria; Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne; Curtin University, Perth; Monash University Museum of Art; Artbank; Geelong Gallery; McClelland Gallery + Sculpture Park, Victoria; and Gold Coast City Art Gallery.
Tai Snaith is an Australian artist and writer with a broad and generous practice ranging from painting and ceramics to curating, conducting conversations and broadcasting.
Tai’s work often marries the act of making with the telling of stories. Connecting and creating meaning through verbal exchange and dialogue. Creating visual symbols from spoken ideas.
Tai's practice employs many different forms of research and processes and presents them via widely varying outcomes and contexts. Her work is often personal, collaborative and experimental.
In addition to making, a large part of Tai's practice is involved in the discourse and community surrounding art. Tai hosts a regular review of visual art on Triple R fm and is a past board member of C3 Contemporary Art Space.
In the past, Tai has worked as a producer and curator for Next Wave Festival, Melbourne Fringe and Melbourne Emerging Writer's festival and has presented project spaces at Rotterdam Project(OR) art fair and Melbourne Art Fair. Her writing has been published in Art and Australia, Architecture Australia, Un Magazine, Houses and Artlink. She has published (written and illustrated) Six picture books with Thames and Hudson.
Tai has exhibited widely in both artist run and commercial spaces since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2002. She has been awarded the Australia Council for the Arts Tokyo studio residency and numerous state and federal project grants. Tai’s recent commissioned work for the State Library of Victoria was shortlisted in the World Illustration Awards in 2019.Tai has work in the NGA works on paper collection, Artbank, Banyule City art collection and numerous private collections.
Cara Johnson’s craft-based works interrogate tensions and narratives surrounding land use. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (First Class Hons.) at RMIT University in 2016, where she is also a current PhD Candidate and sessional lecturer. Recent solo exhibitions include Understory at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and Overlay at The Santos Museum of Economic Botany. Cara also exhibits widely in group shows, nationally and internationally, notably Paper Art 2017 at CODA Museum in the Netherlands, Elegy at Gallery Funaki and Amazon//Amazon at Michael Reid Gallery. In 2021 Cara was represented in the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize in Sydney and this year she has been selected for Schmuck 2022 in Munich. Cara's works are held in various public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Victoria.
Pic credit: Fred Kroh
Robbie Rowlands is an artist based in Melbourne. Through his practice, he explores everyday environments and materials to create immersive sculptural and media-based outcomes. With a focus on working specifically with each site and community, his outcomes develop unique awareness and connections to subjects that are often overlooked.
With a career spanning over 20 years, his practice has traversed local and international landscapes, with significant public outcomes. Recent projects include ‘Slow Order’, Ballarat Goodshed Commission, 2022, ‘Finding the edge’, a site-responsive project with a decommissioned timber yard, Preston, 2020, ‘Riddiford Arboretum Sculpture commission’, Broken Hill, 2020, ‘Crossing the floor’, Broadmeadows Townhall public art commission, 2019 and ‘Light falls’, a reconfigured 20m stadium light pole, Townsville, 2019
Rowlands is currently engaged in a public art commission for the City of Geelong due to be launched late 2022.
For Mick, `art is a rainbow of many things' and his own practice demonstrates this openness to innovative design. His company, Ngarga Warendj-Dancing Wombat, is known for high-quality products that are produced by hand or through ethical licensing agreements. His sculpture commissions have been highly sought by a wide range of clients.
Mick is also a cultural educator and his commitment to knowledge is reflected in the cultural narratives that inform his works. Mick notes the importance of his art making as a way to be both culturally and financially independent. His art is also for his children and community and he says that buying genuine products from Indigenous artists `puts money into our pockets and into our communities - we are closing the gap ourselves.'
Mick showed an interest in art at a young age, copying the funnies from the papers his Dad brought home from work at The Herald and The Sun newspapers in Melbourne.
He was not to pursue this further until after working in Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management and discovering an interest in learning to create artifacts as his ancestors did.Taking his inspiration from his ancestors, found through his work in Museums, and collections held by places such as the Koorie Heritage Trust, which demonstrated the linework used in the South East.
He began his art business, and took part in an Indigenous Business Showcase called Tribal Expressions- held for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
Over the past 15 years Mick has been commissioned to create individual artworks for private and public clients. His art has been given to visiting dignitaries from countries around the world, such as Japan, Canada, USA and across Europe. He was commissioned by the Premier of Victoria, Dan Andrews, to make a darnuk as a gift from the State of Victoria for the birth of Princess Charlotte in 2015. A darnuk is a traditional Aboriginal bowl used by women for carrying babies, and gathering of food, it was decorated with a shield design for protection.
In 2016, Mick completed a Masters of Fine Arts with distinction, at Federation University.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Great Victorian Rail Trail is a 134km multi-use trail that can be experienced on foot, bike or horse. The trail follows the old railway line from Tallarook to Mansfield with a spur line to Alexandra, crossing the three municipalities of Mitchell, Murrindindi and Mansfield. This easily accessible, varied and unique trail offers close proximity to the regions natural attractions including, beautiful rivers, majestic valleys, lakes and mountains. You can find out more about the GVRT at www.greatvictorianrailtrail.com.au
Mitchell, Murrindindi and Mansfield Shire Councils have received funding from the Victorian Government to deliver the Great Victorian Rail Trail Art Installations and Signage Project. This project aims to improve the rail trail experience by implementing innovative and impactful art installations along the trail to attract visitors to the trail and surrounding towns within the region.
As part of the project, local Taungurung artist Mick Harding has created 20 scar trees along the Trail. Mick and his sons have removed the bark from healthy eucalypts and carved symbols into them to articulate their relationship to their Ancestors and Country. The work draws on traditional tree scarring practised by many First Nations peoples from the south-east of this continent.
Taungurung people have been removing the bark from trees to use for various purposes such as baby carriers, food collection vessels and canoes for at least 2000 generations. The trees will heal over time, leaving a lasting marker of the continued connection of First Nations people to Country.
For more information on scar trees, visit firstpeoplesrelations.vic.gov.au/fact-sheet-aboriginal-scar-trees
While the installation of the artworks has now been completed, we are still busy working on signage and a tourism campaign to launch in spring.
The project is looking to enhance the current GVRT experience for community and visitors alike. By installing impactful art installations at different points along the trail, the project aims to increase visitation, resulting in economic benefit for the region.
The Victorian Government’s Regional Tourism Investment Fund has awarded $1.2 million dollars to Mitchell, Murrindindi and Mansfield Shire Councils, for the completion of the Great Victorian Rail Trail Art Installations and Signage Project.
Artists were chosen through a two stage selection process. Artists were invited to submit an Expression of Interest and to demonstrate their availability, capacity and interest in undertaking the work outlined in the artist brief in the first stage. A selection panel then shortlisted suitable artists who were invited to develop a design concept proposal via the Concept Development phase. The selection panel then assessed the concept proposals and the selected artists were appointed.
As part of the community engagement period the project called for community members to submit an Expression of Interest to form a Community Reference Group (CRG). The CRG has met on several occasions to provide input and feedback on the project, including the curatorial direction of the project, potential art installation locations and consideration during the artist EOI phase.
If you have a question that is not listed in the FAQs or you would like to chat about the project in more detail, please get in touch with your relevant Council. Contact details are provided below.
Mitchell Shire Council
James Bone - Business Development and Engagement Officer
(03) 5734 6422
Murrindindi Shire Council
Julie Blyth - Acting Manager Tourism and Events
(03) 5772 0333
Mansfield Shire Council
(03) 5775 8534