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Southern Gateway Entrance Statement

In January 2017 artist Greg Johns was engaged to deliver his awarded design Land Lines.

Greg Johns is one of Australia’s best known and most successful contemporary sculptures, working as a full-time sculptor for almost 40 years. The Australian landscape has become a major influence on his sculpture, focusing on an approach to making sculpture which is both conceptually and materially Australian in feel that places importance on local context.

Land Lines consists of 50 individually spade shaped elements arranged in single file and aligned in the two snake like forms either side of Main North Road. The sculpture aims to capture Gawler’s unique sense of place and give sensitive consideration to the area’s low open landscape and big expansive vistas. The robust form, materials and detail draws on forms that evoke an understanding of Gawler’s agricultural and industrial history, while also providing reference in different ways to the first people of the Adelaide Plains.

“Land Lines is a site specific sculpture installation, one of the most significant works I have worked on in Australia or internationally. Aboriginal, local European history and the landscape have all impacted on the design of the entrance way sculpture. Drawings of ant hill nests, plough blades and the scales of snakes all influenced the work. The pieces deliberately hug the ground with two horizontal elements, reflecting the horizontal nature of our vast landscape. As cars approach the pieces they will appear to be solid, but as you drive alongside side them they will virtually disappear revealing the landscape behind them. To see it finally being realised after eight years of development is a career highlight. I hope it provides a thought provoking cultural addition to the Town of Gawler”, said Greg Johns.

The landscaping surrounding the sculpture pieces will consist of native grasses to complement the existing landscape and visually highlight the sculpture. This approach is consistent with the Artist’s vision of emphasising a variety of local native grass species covering the area of the constructed earth mounds. The native grasses will be spread as a seed mixture and when established will range in height up to 900mm from ground level.

The role of public art in the community is diverse. It can mark an occasion, acknowledge a significant figure or event, or simply enhance the landscape and provide a focal point for a large open space. Public art can have a positive impact on a number of things including the way people interact with a space, health and wellbeing of a community, tourism, community pride, ownership and education.