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The Sculpture Explore The Concept

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An extensive collaboration of ideas and values helped to shape the materiality and form of a sculpture that poetically expresses the Australian-Turkish Gallipoli relationship.

The various elements of the sculpture tell an individual perspective of this relationship. A sweeping 3.8 meter curve of interwoven stainless steel strands symbolises the laying of a commemorative wreath, while two hand-carved granite stone seed cones, representing a pine from Turkey – which is synonymous with the battlefields of Gallipoli – and the form of an Australian casuarina seed which lay side by side to represent the ‘Johnnies and Mehmets’ who fought and lost their lives.

A circular ground plane unifies the various design elements, with compelling inscriptions taken from both a Turkish and Australian perspective. Charles Bean articulates a nation’s pride in the bravery of its fallen men, while Mustafa Kemal Atatürk offers words of comfort to the mothers who lost their sons at Gallipoli. These sentiments are overlaid with ‘fallen pine needles’ offering further epitaphs and memoirs taken from letters, diaries, speeches and tombstones from Anzac and Turkish soldiers and their families. The sculpture invites tactile interaction from the public through its accessible form and scale, prompting further inquiry into the history and story of the Australian and Turkish relationship, while forever enhancing the artistic fabric of Melbourne.

ELEMENTS OF THE DESIGN

The Wreath: 
design-elements_the-wreathThe sweeping 3.8 metre curve of interwoven stainless steel strands symbolises the laying of a commemorative crescent shaped wreath, symbolic of the cultural practice of commemoration and memorial.
The Seed Cones:
Two hand-carved granite stone seed cones, a pine from Turkey – which is synonymous with the battlefields of Gallipoli – and the form of an Australian casuarina seed lay side by side to represent the fallen from both sides of the conflict. The forms are remarkable in their similarity and complexity, serving as a parable to the seeds of friendship and illustrating our shared and unique national characteristics.
The Groundplane:
design-elements_the-groundplaneThe memorial sits atop a circular groundplane made of honed granite plates with a pebble mosaic, creating a visual softness and tactility befitting of a memorial space.
Engraved Text:
A circular ground plane unifies the various design elements, with compelling inscriptions expressing words of reverence and solace taken from both a Turkish and Australian perspective. Charles Bean articulates a nation’s pride in the bravery of its fallen men, while Mustafa Kemal Atatürk offers words of comfort to the ANZAC mothers who lost their sons at Gallipoli.
Embedded Mosaic Text:
The seed cones ‘interact’ with the groundplane, with an overlay of arcs inset within the mosaic, akin to the way casuarina and pine needles drop and collect on the ground. These carved stone fragments offer a diversity of epitaphs and memoirs taken from letters, diaries, speeches and tombstones from Anzac and Turkish soldiers and their families.

THE ARTISTIC PROCESS

The proposal and concept development was a lengthy and considered process. After an extensive community engagement process, a shortlist of four experienced artists was nominated. Three Australian and one Turkish artist submitted concept proposals for consideration which were assessed by a sculpture design assessment panel comprised of community members, historians, architects and art specialists. The panel members were Serdar Baycan, Elizabeth Grigg, Melika Grigg-Baycan, Tectura Architects; Ramazan Altintas; Professor Bruce Scates, Director of the National Centre for Australian Studies, Monash University; Professor Su Baker, Director of the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), University of Melbourne; Alan Yildiz, and Sefika Altintas. In July 2014, based on recommendations from the panel and subsequent approval from Melbourne City Council, Matthew Harding was commissioned to further develop his design alongside an extensive fundraising program.

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