Collaborators : Jahn Rees, Sharyn Egan SCAPE-ISM (Artists); Mateenbar (GFRP suppliers)
Project Value : $350,000
Completed : Due for completion late 2021
Airey Taylor Consulting provided Structural Engineering services for this striking piece of public art, currently under construction and set for completion in late 2021.
Forming a 9 metre high sculpture that greets visitors as they disembark from the jetty – the artwork announces and celebrates a strong Aboriginal presence at Wadjemup (Rottnest Island). The piece is primarily inspired by the ancient and ongoing Whadjuk Noongar spiritual connection to Wadjemup, referencing traditional stories of the human connection with whales, who carry the spirits from the mainland out to Koorinup at the West End, and beyond, below the ocean to the afterlife.
The artwork also references the brutal century-long practice of imprisonment of Aboriginal men at Rottnest. Closer inspection presents inspiration for reconciliation and a vision for a positive and inclusive shared future.
ATC’s specialist knowledge of design with concrete with glass fibre reinforced polymer rods offered the creative team superior durability; making it possible to use sandblasted and polished limestone concrete detailed with text with a strength of only 25MPa; rather than the 45MPa concrete specified by AS:3600 for steel reinforced concrete near the ocean. As glass fibre reinforced polymer rods do not rust, the requirement for higher strength concrete to protect the reinforcement is not needed..
The selection of GFRP rods and temporary post-tensioning during handling also enabled the creators to considerably narrow the amount of concrete cover over the “ribs” of the structure, leading to a better articulated statement of artistic intent.
Hand wrought aluminium complements the limestone concrete; providing a spear for the central piece and the whale outline displayed at the rear of the piece.
With the superior corrosion performance of glass fibre reinforced polymer rods (cast in custom shapes by Mateenbar) and aluminium; this sculpture will endure and preserve the message for visitors to the island for generations to come.