24 July 2017

Sculpture with message flowers on Barton Highway

| Ian Bushnell
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A new artwork fashioned from car wreckage that has been installed beside the Barton Highway holds special poignancy for a road that only last week was the scene of another fatal accident.

Yass Valley’s newest public artwork Forgotten, created by local artist Melanie Lyons, was unveiled last Thursday at the Jeir Creek rest area.

Yass Valley Council paid $4950 for the three-metre high work, in which the mangled metal is shaped into flowers, as part of its public art program.

The council said on its website that Forgotten was created in 2004 as part of a body of work in response to grief experienced by the artist.

“This particular work references roadside memorials and was created in tribute to the artist’s friend and the many other Australians who have lost their lives as a result of road accidents,” it said.

The artist says cars speak of freedom, independence and speed, but also of grief.

“Yass was the place of my youth, a highway town where cars rule. The grief I experienced was for a close friend killed in a car accident. The flowers are a symbol to remind us of those we have lost,” she says.

Last Friday, a woman died in an accident near the Yass Valley interchange at Manton when a car left the road and hit a tree.

Yass Valley Mayor, Rowena Abbey said Forgotten was a fantastic piece of public art by a talented, local artist and the true meaning behind the sculpture conveyed a powerful road safety message.
“I would like to thank Melanie and congratulate the Public Art Committee for this project and hope to see many more in the future,” she said.

Al Phemister, a member of the Yass Valley Public Art Committee, said the project was an important step to recognising the importance of public art in Yass Valley.

“I think the installation of this sculpture will start conversations and remind everybody of the huge impact that car accidents can have on our lives. The Committee look forward to seeing more artworks installed in public spaces throughout Yass Valley, he said.

Melanie Lyons completed her HSC at Yass High School. Her work was selected over two consecutive years for the National Gallery’s annual ‘SubURBAN’ Exhibition, which celebrates the very best in youth art in the Southern Tablelands. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Visual) from the ANU School of Art, where she completed Honours in 2004.

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